Utterly Meaningless » Blog Archive » ON SCHOOL BOARDS

    Filed at 6:22 am under by dcobranchi

    I think this Q&A originated in the New York Times Magazine. I found it here.

    Board member can send child where she likes

    February 12, 2006

    Q. The president of our local board of education sends her children to the public elementary schools, but when they get to high school, she moves them to private schools. Isn’t it her ethical obligation either to send her children to the schools she sets policy for and espouses as so wonderful or to step down from the board?

    — JoAnne Manse, Rutherford, N.J.

    A. It is not. It is the obligation of board members to strive mightily to make the public schools so good that even parents with the means to opt out choose to remain. If the public schools are not yet that good, the president may honorably send her kids elsewhere — indeed, her duty as a parent compels her to. Even where a public school is excellent, parents may seek programs it does not offer — religious instruction, for example.

    Enrolling her own kids at a school she administers can give a board member intimate daily insight into how her policies are working out, a real advantage in doing her job. Yet voters must select board members not on the basis of where they send their kids, but on how well they manage the schools. And remember: Some excellent educators have no kids at all. Ultimately, a board member can home-school her kids for all I care (as long as she doesn’t do it in my home); if she is savvy, dedicated and effective, she gets my vote.

    One Response to “ON SCHOOL BOARDS”

    Comment by
    Tim Haas
    February 12th, 2006
    at 3:01 pm

    You’re right — it’s from today’s Ethicist column.