The main argument in favor of elected school boards is the obvious one. While democracy can be messy, cantankerous and unpredictable, it is the foundational principle of our nation. The more democracy, the better. If we don't like the results of democracy in a particular place, then we should pay more attention to making it work, not abandon it.I don't know what prompted this article. I'm not aware of an organized movement to revert to appointed school boards in Virginia, though I'm sure that many Boards of Supervisors in Virginia would be happy to be rid of theirs. There was a bill in last year's legislature that would have enabled Supervisors to disband their local school boards at will, but it didn't get very far.
While the editorial doesn't elaborate on its opening statement, it does elaborate that for much of the last century the objective of banning elected school boards was to thwart civil rights. The author quotes from Virginia's 1901 ironically titled "constitutional convention":
Another convention delegate, J.B.T. Thornton of Prince William County, captured the consensus view on elected school boards. In rejecting a proposal to mandate elected school trustees, the equivalent of today's school boards, Thornton said, "… if this report is adopted, as presented here, there are a number of counties in the State in which we will have [N]egro trustees. That is a condition of affairs that is abhorrent…"I can only be glad that I live in a very different Virginia, one that now has quite a number of African American school board members (both appointed and elected) from across the state.
Our elected school boards about democracy, history