Find Out What Your Public Wants

By Douglas B. Reeves

Want to make voters happy? It’s easy. Just do the following:

• Reduce spending and avoid layoffs.

• Ensure that all students pass state tests and avoid teaching to those tests.

• Preserve music, art, libraries, and physical education and cut anything in the budget not related to reading and math tests.

• Fully fund extracurricular activities and don’t inconvenience parents or students with fundraising responsibilities.

• Meet federal requirements for special education and reduce the disproportionate amount of your budget that you allocate to special education.

If you can do all of that and control your temper while someone bashes public education during your next encounter at the grocery store, then you are qualified to be a school board member.

In a democracy, people are entitled to their opinions. They are not, however, entitled to their own facts. Here are some practical guidelines for board members in evaluating competing claims for what the public really wants from our educational system.

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