Liable for Student Achievement?

By Pilar Sokol

Locally elected school boards have always been accountable to the community they serve through the ballot box. However, ongoing concerns over student achievement gaps have prompted some politicians and others to question the effectiveness of that accountability system. Indeed, at a conference on school labor–management relations in Denver last year, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan noted that school board elections often have a low turnout. Duncan also said that school boards should be evaluated.

The federal government, states, and other interested parties have tried or are still attempting to hold school boards accountable for student academic performance. The legal framework they are trying to use may allow these entities to become involved in the governance of school districts.

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