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ERIC Number: ED515849
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 84
Abstractor: ERIC
School Boards Circa 2010: Governance in the Accountability Era
Hess, Frederick M.; Meeks, Olivia
Thomas B. Fordham Institute
For more than a century, school boards have endeavored to govern America's schools and school systems. Collectively, the nation's nearly 14,000 school boards are responsible for the well-being of 52 million children, the expenditure of $600 billion per year, and the supervision of six million employees. Despite the magnitude of this responsibility, school boards and their work are little examined and poorly understood. That remains true even as the state of school governance has occasioned much discussion in the past decade. In the wake of the No Child Left Behind Act, amidst an unprecedented wealth of data on student achievement, and in an era of renewed attention to achievement gaps and international competitiveness, many observers have focused on the critical role of school board governance. In the past two years, the challenge of upholding high academic performance has grown more urgent due to a new daunting financial burden. The real estate bubble, the resulting financial crisis of 2008, and the ensuing recession have forced districts to wrestle with unprecedented declines in revenue. Notable, however, is how rarely discussions about performance in these times of heightened scrutiny are informed by substantive information on school boards and board governance. Though a handful of noteworthy studies of school boards emerged in the early 2000s, little empirical research on national board practices has been conducted since the passage of the No Child Left Behind Act in 2001. To update and deepen those earlier studies, the National School Boards Association, the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, the Iowa School Boards Foundation, and the Wallace Foundation have joined together to support new research on school boards and their members. This report presents the results of that research so as to provide parents, voters, policymakers, advocates, and educators with an informative look at the individuals and bodies charged with governing America's schools. (Contains 75 tables and 23 endnotes.) [This document was co-published by the Iowa School Boards Foundation.]
Thomas B. Fordham Foundation & Institute. 1701 K Street NW Suite 1000, Washington, DC 20006. Tel: 202-223-5452; Fax: 202-223-9226; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Numerical/Quantitative Data; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: Parents; Teachers; Policymakers
Language: English
Sponsor: Wallace Foundation
Authoring Institution: Thomas B. Fordham Institute; National School Boards Association
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: No Child Left Behind Act 2001
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A