The role of school boards, their governance practices and sense of effectiveness in suburban, urban, and rural settings in the United States
This study examined the attitudes school board members have toward nine components of governance and their relationship to board effectiveness in suburban, urban, and rural settings of the United States. The governance practices under investigation were teamwork, financial planning, financial management, financial analysis, policy orientation, academic assessment, curriculum evaluation, curriculum investment, and technology investment. School board members were asked to describe how their perceptions of school board service changed and what actual changes they experienced since they were first elected. The role of school board members in suburban, urban, and rural districts was compared. The study was limited to two city, suburban, and rural districts selected within regional proximity to each other in each of 50 states, totaling 300 boards of education.
This nationwide study portrays the uniqueness of school boards in their particular settings and illuminates the commonalities among boards across suburban, urban, and rural environments.
The results of a regression analysis indicated a circle of influence for the governance factors of financial planning, financial analysis, financial management, teamwork, academic assessment, and policy orientation to board effectiveness. Fifty-two percent of board effectiveness is associated with these factors. There are few tools for boards to use to self-evaluate that have been validated as predictors of school board effectiveness. This study provides a self-evaluation model for measuring successful school board governance as described by board members across the nation in suburban, urban, and rural settings.