No Man Can Serve Two Masters: Should School Boards Serve Parents or Students?
Photo by: Anna C. Brandao

During the Governor’s Nominating and Recruiting Committee  interviewing of Utah State Board of Education candidates, a question seemed to be ever present: who should members of the State Board of Education serve – parents or students?

It is an interesting question.

Over the last decade there has been a general cry that public education should serve business.  Businesses, after all, are the consumers of public education.  Schools, both public and higher ed, should prepare students for the workplace.  This drive to make students more competitive in the workplace was a key reason core standards were revised to become more rigorous.  Utahns wanted students to be competitive internationally.

The tide has shifted.  Now some parents are arguing that the school board should serve parents.  In close alignment of that is the cry for ‘Utah values’ and ‘local control’ of education curriculum and standards.   Further, parents insist they are the true consumers of public education because they pay for it with their taxes and by sending their children to attend.  Parents know best what their children need.

Meanwhile, the Board of Education is holding firm that their responsibility is to the students and that their focus must be to help all students be ‘college and career ready’ by the time they graduate.

So which is it?

No man can serve two masters.  The law is silent as to who the Board should serve.  Its up to us to decide.

Who do you think the board should serve?  Parents? Students? Why?

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