School Boards and the Future of Education Politics

School boards are fighting for their survival. Today almost everything they do is subject to increasing regulation—by city council, state boards of education, state legislatures, and state and federal courts. And as recent mayoral and state takeovers in some cities make abundantly clear, school boards that do not fulfill the expectations of excellence defined by other political players may be stripped of what few independent powers they still retain.

In Besieged, a group of renowned scholars, relying on careful case studies and quantitative analysis, systematically examine this and other issues, assembling new evidence on the powers of school boards, their operations, and most important, the politics that surround them. The picture that emerges is a sobering one.