“We do need to find out whether it works for Irvington and if it works for our curriculum,” he says. “The Board expects and will ask – as we have asked with any effort that the administration [puts forth] – for them to give us the results of the findings of whether it has worked or not.”
Irvington Schools Flipped
Written by David Neilsen
Friday, 21 February 2014

In my experience, there aren’t many school-board presidents who would say this.

For any number of reasons, school boards across the country have lost control of the schools they head. Superintendents manage boards, not the other way around.

A few years back I attended a school-board meeting at which a board member asked the then-superintendent whether she talked to her fellow superintendents about …. curriculum, I think it was.

She said she didn’t. Instead, she spent her time talking to her peers about ‘how to manage our boards.’

How to manage our boards: those are pretty close to her exact words. I was so shocked I thought I must have misunderstood, but a friend of mine who was also present confirmed that our superintendent had indeed just told the board, publicly, that when speaking to her peers her main topic of conversation was board management.

That’s not the way it’s supposed to be (to put it mildly), and that’s not the way it used to be somewhere back in the mists of time. I don’t know when things changed.

The legal reality is that public schools are government entities, and school boards are the elected officials we the people choose to head them.

Our elected officials, serving as the board, set the mission; the executive executes the mission. 

The board evaluates the executive’s effectiveness.

In really-existing reality, however, superintendents run circles around school boards. They swamp board members with document dumps in the form of board books, bamboozle them with verbiage that could be taken from the Educational Jargon Generator, and refuse to measure results or even take surveys. Their subordinates are directed to do likewise.

Irvington is, I think, fairly unique — and fortunate — in having a school board that is attempting to restore the proper lines of authority.

Irvington Parents Forum at Yahoo Groups
Irvington Parents Forum on Facebook
Irvington Union Free School District
Irvington USFD Board Meetings – YouTube