Ever have that feeling that something is missing or just not right, but you cannot put a finger on it? I got to asking myself, “what exactly is the purpose of the School Board?” because I so often get confused by what I see and hear. So I started at page 1 of the Board Policies and quickly hit this little gem:
Constitution of the State of Illinois
SECTION 1. GOAL – FREE SCHOOLS
A fundamental goal of the People of the State is the
educational development of all persons to the limits of their
The State shall provide for an efficient system of high
quality public educational institutions and services.
Education in public schools through the secondary level shall
be free. There may be such other free education as the
General Assembly provides by law.
The State has the primary responsibility for financing
the system of public education.
(Source: Illinois Constitution.)
The next page of the Board Policies (105 THE PEOPLE AND THEIR SCHOOL DISTRICT) states:
The public schools belong to the people. The people govern the schools under rights guaranteed to them by the Constitution and statutes of the state of Illinois. The people exercise their proprietorship through the elective process. They elect state and federal representatives, who establish through the Illinois General Assembly and the United States Congress the framework of law within which the schools operate. The people elect a board of education to represent them and to determine local educational plans and policies and to establish publicly endorsed educational goals and objectives. The board of education functions as an agent of the public within this framework.
The people are the ultimate governors of public education, and the Board of Education is directly accountable to the people. Accountability is a shared responsibility involving students, staff, the Superintendent of Schools, and the general public.
I think we have lost sight of this. Part of it is that “the people” don’t hold much trust in any elected state or federal representative. Part of it is that we have become disassociated.