Governance: Democracy, Teamwork, and Success
American school boards today have an extraordinary opportunity to strengthen local democracy, almost as great as our country's founding fathers, and equal to the political leaders, academics, businessmen, and farmers who gave us the industrial and agricultural revolutions that made America the world leader of the twentieth century. The public management revolution will be just as important to America's progress and success in the twenty-first century. As our country enters a new era of reform, beginning in schools, boards are under increasing pressure: to prove that a good job is being done; to build productive staff relations of teamwork and accountability; to strengthen performance and management. This chapter and Part VII focus on these key board responsibilities.
The public management revolution beginning in schools is one of America's most important and exciting public issues -- now, and for many years to come. School board members, with district staff -- as well as citizens, taxpayers, parents, and students -- all have vitally important roles to play if American education is to have the quality we must have to meet our needs. Although school board members are in some respects the least important part of the district team -- compared, for instance, with full-time staff members-in other ways they have the most powerful impact on performance. This chapter speaks directly of their critically important responsibilities, and also provides a framework for the community to evaluate elected representatives and the job they are doing on our behalf. American school boards are no longer tolerant of their traditional role of being merely rubber stamps for the superintendent's authority. They are insisting on information and a positive role