Why are many US school boards elected?

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The Politicus
Jan 21, 2022 01:37 PM 0 Answers
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I think it is odd that school boards are elected in many if not most school districts in the United States. This makes me wonder what the political and historical reasons for electing school boards.

There are also multiple problems with electing school boards. I'm not going to get into every one of them because it would sound biased against school board elections as a concept. Here's a list of the biggest issues one might have:

  • There is almost zero student vote in school board elections largely because of who is eligible to vote, and therefore there is little electoral incentive to listen to students.
  • These types of elections tend to be lower profile than most or all other elections on the ballot.
  • Lack of ballot partisanship in most school board elections means voters are missing a key piece of information. This causes fewer voters even when it's on the same ballot, and voters are more likely to choose based on various characteristics such as which candidate lands is on the top of the ballot.
  • Other school officials are not subject to public elections.

Why are school boards elected if other positions in school districts aren't subject to this?

Note: someone mentioned that school boards have a "pretty hefty reach regarding curriculum". That is true, but electing them especially in a nonpartisan way decreases the amount of information available to voters as I said above when people choose based on things from who appears at the top to who has an Asian/Hispanic origin surname or skip it altogether. Making a school board appointed by a town mayor and legislature could solve that problem because appointing the board means that they would be chosen by people who are elected in almost certainly higher turnout elections who are also more informed about who would serve because it is their job to pick people.

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  • January 21, 2022