Wake County School Board Turmoil Reflects Partisanship Over Policy

Professor Jacob Vigdor says 'some have penchants for political vendettas that trump policy analysis'

In a vote along party lines, the Wake County School Board fired the district's superintendent after less than two years on the job.  

Jacob VigdorProfessor of public policy and economics, Sanford School of Public Policy, Duke University jacob.vigdor@duke.eduhttp://fds.duke.edu/db/Sanford/jacob.vigdor Vigdor researches educational achievement, teacher labor markets and merit pay, college admissions policies, racial inequality and immigration policy.  Quotes:  "When contemplating the ongoing soap opera that is the Wake County School Board, it is important to bear in mind that Wake is one of the 20 largest school districts in the United States. There are more than 17,000 districts across the country, the vast majority of them much smaller than Wake County. If the nation's largest districts, those we might think of as having the best shot at professional management, can't take care of themselves, how can we expect anything of the thousands of tiny districts across the country?" "The United States delegates important education policy choices to over 17,000 local school boards and administrators. The overwhelming majority of these officials have minimal expertise in policy analysis -- and clearly some have penchants for political vendettas that trump policy analysis. This has to be considered one of the key reasons American students lag behind those in other developed countries."