Public Advocacy: Public Comments

Community input at meetings presents challenges and opportunities

Glenn Cook

Engaging the public around key issues involving local school districts is, at best, a complex task. As school board members, you often are forced to straddle a tough line between community concerns and what’s best for your district’s students and staff. 

President’s Perspective: Take stock of ‘soft’ skills

So much of students’ learning and achievement is measured through their performance on state and national standardized assessments. As a result, school boards often spend considerable time reviewing the results of these assessments, identifying performance gaps across various demographics and content areas, and directing the development of plans to address those gaps. Tests and performance assessments however, only present part of the student achievement story.

Tom on Point: Picking the wrong fight

Let’s be honest: Not everyone likes public education. Some people are committed to undermining this institution by depriving it of necessary funding, burdening it with excessive regulations, and deliberately painting it as a failure despite overwhelming evidence that it is educating more students at a higher level than ever before. If you’re determined to hurt public schools, truth-telling hardly serves your purpose.

From the Editor: Senior editor extraordinaire

A couple of months ago, Del Stover appeared at my office door and delivered the news I had long dreaded hearing: He was retiring.

Del’s words have graced the pages of NSBA publications for 32 years, most recently as senior editor of American School Board Journal and as the lead editor of the Urban Advocate section of the magazine.

Opioid Crisis Another Dilemma for Urban Education

Story by Micah Ali

When President Donald Trump dramatically declared the opioid crisis a “national health emergency” a month ago, he was announcing the grim reality that those of us working for and in low-income communities of color have faced on the ground for a generation—that opioids and other drugs kill and destroy hope.

Fair Representation

Urban districts strive to solve disproportionality in their schools

Story by Michelle Healy

Disproportionality isn’t a word that regularly pops up in casual conversation, but for school leaders invested in the work of improving urban education, it’s an essential part of the dialogue and the mission of equity. 

Teacher Diversity Matters

Critical Care

Recruitment, retention are part of the complex solution

Story by Del Stover

Urban school boards have struggled for years to improve the diversity of their teaching staffs, so students will have at least some teachers who look like them.

Yet, such efforts don’t seem to have helped all that much. Although the number of students of color increases year after year, the number of minority teachers fails to keep pace.


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