To The Daily Sun,
To work in the classroom it has to be right in the board room. So what is effective school board governance?
In a "non profit "Board of Trustees" (like public education) the school board's overarching OBLIGATION and RESPONSIBILITY is in representing, protecting and benefiting the interests of the district education stakeholders. Education stakeholders include almost everyone in the community. (Then acting on their behalf and serving as their agent to clearly identify the stakeholders and their primary needs and wishes). This is the "Bed Rock" of "not for profit" high performance and very effective board governance.
High performance board governance begins with a clear, precise and shared notion of why and for what purpose the school board exists. The board develops a stakeholder-supported education vision for the community, including the key strategic outcomes, with clear metrics of success and projected time lines to completion. Only with clarity and community consensus can the school board determine what it must do and how it will go about doing it. The board decides and acts on behalf of the stakeholders having a fiduciary duty of loyalty.
Who are the typical STAKEHOLDERS IN PUBLIC EDUCATION?
Almost everyone in the Community wants:
1. A community reputation for delivering high quality public education combined with solid annual improvement for each student.
2. Parents — a strong academic performance of students (with extra help as needed) compared with other districts in New Hampshire and providing a solid preparation for life.
3. Home owners — A reasonable local cost of good public education and an improved reputation of the school district in the state.
SOLID BOARD GOVERNANCE IN A PUBLIC SCHOOL DISTRICT HAS TWO MAJOR FACETS:
A. FULFILLING 5 KEY BOARD RESPONSIBILITIES.
1. With strong community "stakeholder support", develop and clearly articulate The Vision of what the organization can become at its very best. If you can not envision what the organization can become at its very best then you are very unlikely to achieve it. The Board then determines the key specific strategic outcomes necessary to achieve the vision by achieving the metrics of success and the planed time lines of completion for accountability.
2. Ensuring executive (superintendent) performance oversight, primarily of the construction and implementation of the board-approved strategy to fulfill the board's vision. Transparency of the measured progress is very important.
3. Oversight of the effectiveness of system wide process and procedures and the empowerment of all employees.
4. Ensuring the organizations financial health. Quality and cost determines stakeholder value.
5. Ensuring the board's own ongoing effectiveness and credibility.
B. PERFORMING 3 KEY ROLES.
1. Policy formulation — specifying its expectations and outcomes.
2. Decision making — choosing among alternatives.
3. Oversight — assessing and reporting key aspects of organizational performance to the stakeholders.
Public school board and district superintendent key responsibilities include:
A Public School Board is responsible to the community to develop an Educational Vision Statement that the stakeholders have helped to develop and strongly support. I cannot overstate the importance of stakeholder involvement. Increased community transparency is crucial.
The key specific responsibilities of the school board and the superintendent below are important to clarify and understand in order to attain solid board governance for all non-profit types of organizations. In public education they are particularly important to understand prior to the interview and hiring of a new superintendent. The superintendent is often tasked to design and implement a strategic plan to achieve the key strategic outcomes determined necessary by the board to deliver the education vision for the district. The mission of the school board is to achieve the communities education VISION for the future. In order to discuss and then execute the proper focus, plans for effective oversight and accountability for the desired education outcomes needs to be determined prior to the superintendent being interviewed and selected. Often this is not done.
1. The Education Vision of the future (3-5 years) for the district stakeholders (Is a school board responsibility) First listen and then to produce.
2. Determine the school district's Key Strategic Measurable Outcomes necessary to achieve the vision (Is a school board responsibility).
3. Develop a Specific District System Strategy to achieve the board-required outcomes and achieve the vision (Is a superintendent responsibility).
4. The implementation of the strategy (Is a superintendent responsibility).
5. The achievement of the individual Key Strategic Outcomes (Is a superintendent responsibility).
6. The progress and achievement of the school board's vision (is a school board responsibility to transparently report progress of the Key Strategic Outcomes to the community stakeholders).
Last Updated on Saturday, 28 September 2013 12:38
To The Daily Sun,
There can be nothing more vital and essential to a society than meeting the educational needs of its children. Teaching is not only noble, but also essential to the fundamental ideals of our community. Ashland Elementary School's teachers have been tirelessly serving the children of Ashland and been a part of this most noble endeavor. As the needs of the community change, the district looks for educational solutions that have the greatest positive impact on children. We recognize that an educational system thrives when it continues to evolve with the needs of the students it serves. Along with their work and with children, the teachers have also spent many years supporting parents and the community. The work of the Ashland School District's teachers has touched children, parents, and the community. Their service has had an impact to all.
On October 1st, the teachers' contract will, once again, be before the voters. Please make the time to vote and, with one voice, support the educators that have nurtured and educated the children of Ashland. Tell the teachers of Ashland that your are grateful for their noble service and the work that they have done in shaping the future of the Ashland community through their classrooms. Support the people who give their energies to making the future better for all of the students at Ashland Elementary School.
Mary Ellen Ormond
Superintendent of Schools
Last Updated on Saturday, 28 September 2013 12:32
To The Daily Sun,
Another pertinent case to Bill Duncan et al. v The State of New Hampshire et al. & Network for Education Opportunity et al.( suit brought in Strafford County Superior Court against the Tax Credit Education Program, SB 372), is the 1925 U.S. Supreme court case of Pierce v Society of Sisters — in which Justice McReynolds, in striking down the Oregon law which would have required all of Oregon's children to attend public schools, writes that it, "unreasonably interferes with the liberty of parents and guardians to direct the upbringing and education of children under their control. As often heretofore pointed out, rights guaranteed by the Constitution may not be abridged by legislation which has no reasonable relation to some purpose within the competency of the state. The fundamental theory of liberty upon which all governments in this union repose excludes any general power of the state to standardize its children by forcing them to accept instruction from public teachers only. The child is not the mere creature of the state; those who nurture him and direct his destiny have the right, coupled with the high duty, to recognize and prepare him for additional obligations."
In conclusion, the ruling seems to rest on if the donations given for these scholarships are to be considered as tax money. Do they constitutionally need to be considered as tax money? I think the answer to that question is a clear "no", for the Amendment reads, "no money raised by taxation" in the past tense. It does not say no money that would have been raised by taxation. It seems then that the circumstance of the presentation of the Blaine Amendment to voters of N.H. back in 1876, and their understanding of the purpose of this amendment would require a literal rendering here for the spirit of our constitution to prevail, and the letter of it to be met. For we have in our Constitution
a document that instructs use to cherish religious instruction. The antagonism toward religion that buttresses Judge Lewis's view of the Blaine Amendment comes from outside of our Constitution. And his decision embodies a complete denial of the difference in the essence of public education then in 1876, and now, and a refusal to acknowledge that public education in its current state presents moral teaching that gives legitimate rise to issues of conscience, held as unassailable in our constitution. If we start here to stem the tide of constitutional abuses that we have seen over the past decades, who knows perhaps, we may avert, at some later date, our citizens from invoking Article 10 of our Constitution.
A somewhat detailed yet concise history of NH's Blaine Amendment is available to anyone who is interested at glenn-on-nh-blaine.pdf
Judge Lewis' ruling can be viewed at dt.common.streams.StreamServer.cls
Last Updated on Saturday, 28 September 2013 12:27
To The Daily Sun,
On October 1, we will be able to buy health insurance coverage on policies effective Jan. 1, 2014. Most of us are required to carry insurance under Obamacare or face fines.
Here are some facts that you need to know.
— The employer mandate that would have required employers with at least 50 full-time workers to provide health insurance or pay a penalty has been delayed a year. That'll now go into effect in 2015. The big companies get a waiver but not the people.
— All levels of government (Executive, Senate, House and Supreme Court) and their staffs are receiving a 75 percent subsidy regardless of salary. Reps. Shea-Porter, Kuster and Senator Shaheen feel that Obamcare is right for us, but not for them.
— Many companies are avoiding Obamacare by no longer offering health care insurance and sending their employees to the exchange.
— Many companies are hiring only part-time employees.
— In New Hampshire, there is only one company on the exchange, Anthem. This means some doctors and hospitals will not be part of the network. The phone number for the exchange is 1-800-318-2596 and website is healthcare.gov.
— Obamacare is dependent on the young and the healthy to purchase health insurance and subsidize the sick. If they do not, premiums will be high and the whole system will fall apart.
Thank you Senator Cruz and Lee for trying to defund Obamacare.
Last Updated on Saturday, 28 September 2013 12:20
To The Daily Sun,
Kate Miller, chair of the Belknap County Democrats, says Obamacare is extending benefits to N.H. residents. That is like saying pimps are really generous because they pay doctors twice a month to check their employees for VD. I remind Kate, it was Democrats who who used the words "TRAIN WRECK" to describe Obama care. What an accurate description it is. This space is insufficient to list the errors, omissions and unintended, consequences of Obamacare. Kate Miller knows them all. Like all politicians she shares INTENTIONALLY the INCOMPLETE STORY, forcing others to convey the real and whole TRUTH. I call it being a bold faced LIAR at worst and misrepresentation at best. Kate, if you want to debate the GOOD ,BAD and UGLY of Obamacare then let's have at it right here in this paper. Democrats win no supporters among the public keeping Obamacare discussions on the front pages. Nearly, TWO out of every THREE Americans, especially those in THE MIDDLE CLASS, want the individual mandate removed. Without that "GUN TO YOUR HEAD MANDATE" Obamacare shrivels and dies. It would take a DOUBLE roll of CHARMIN to list all the flaws in Obama care. Here are just two to get a flavor of what a "cow patty" tastes like.
1. Lets start at the beginning. The polls, taken UNENDINGLY for more than a year before Obamacare was passed, showed a CONSTANT, STRONG MAJORITY of Americans NEVER SUPPORTED the Obamacare solution to the challenges facing health care. EVERY POLL since Obamacare was passed shows the very same, strong, majority of Americans DO NOT want Obamacare in their lives no matter the "DONKEY SPIN" politicians like Kate Miller try to put on it. A cow patty smells like a cow patty no matter the gallons of perfume she may try to dump on it. The economic distress and problems already caused by this "train wreck" are most apparent. The economy is still STRUGGLING after FIVE YEARS of Obama uncertainty and their economic impact. We have a sub 2 percent economy that should be 4 percent plus this late after a recession. Obama presides over the slowest recovery in history. Businesses want only PART-TIME, rented help to avoid Obamacare's FINES and his next regulatory road block to slow business.
2. James Madison and the other founders of the U.S. Constitution knew the equal and UNBIASED application of the law to all people (ESPECIALLY POLITICIANS) is essential to freedom and justice and a primary safeguard from authoritarianism and oppression form a ruling political class like we have NOW. Did not Obama SCREAM TO US ALL that Obamacare was essential to the entire country. Not quite true. It seems the DEMOCRATS on capital hill opened the "train wreck" box. They found out THEY WERE INCLUDED in the wreck and were OUTRAGED. Obamacare was going to COST THEM all THOUSANDS in HIGHER health insurance costs. So they BEGGED Obama for an EXEMPTION. He IMMEDIATELY agreed, nice pals they are. Democrats call that CORRUPTION when Republicans are in office. America has to live under the HORRORS and DISASTER of Obamacare but not the upper crust, politicians in Washington DC. Tens of millions will be COMPELLED to spend billions more on insurance because of Obamacare. Even more will be spending billions for insurance they do not want or need having their living standards crushed. All while big money, DC DEMOCRATS BEGGED their way out of Obamacare, saving them fortunes. Their pronouncement: OBAMACARE SUCKS! Millions of others agree, we have been screaming it for FIVE YEARS. Have you ever read greater DEMOCRATIC HYPOCRISY than this tale? If Obamacare is good enough for me and you, it is good enough for OBAMA, REID & PELOSI. Let them all share the great benefits Kate Miller B.S.'d us all with.
Last Updated on Saturday, 28 September 2013 12:10