Tuesday, July 18, 2006

BoE to lose some oversight?

If certain members of the Senate have their way the DC Board of Education may find itself stripped of some of its authority. Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) is sponsoring legislation that would remove from the Board of Education those duties that are normally handled by a state Board of Education. Unlike the states the District's Board handles the duties that would fall under both a local school board and a state wide Department of Education. Landrieu's legislation would remove the latter role from the BoE and hand it to a new, yet to be decided, entity.
"In every other jurisdiction in America, we have a state board and local school districts," said Landrieu, a member of the D.C. appropriations subcommittee. "We want them to come up with legislation to clearly separate" those roles, she said.

But in a school system in which the superintendent answers to the school board, the council, the mayor and Congress, some wonder whether creating another authority would add to the problem of fractured governance.

"If it results in more bureaucracy and more layers of agencies for the system to report to, this will make the work of the district harder and not easier," said Michael D. Casserly, executive director of the Council of the Great City Schools, a Washington-based organization that represents large, urban school systems. "A conversation that adds to the levels of distrust and bureaucratic isolation will probably not help."

A 1999 study of the school system's governance structure by the D.C. Appleseed Center for Law and Justice expressed caution about establishing a separate agency to perform state-level functions. State education agencies, it said, sometimes "create problems" by issuing unnecessary mandates that cost schools time and money.

1 comment:

Ed Researcher said...

It's about time.