School Governance 101

Before we get into tactics you can employ in your advocacy, take a moment to think through the levels of government that are involved in making decisions and policy regarding education. Many of the tactics below can be adapted for any level of government, but always consider starting closest to home. What do the policy makers in your school district have the power to do? How can they act to promote diversity in the classroom?

Our public primary and secondary schools are governed through a complex web of federal, state, and local policy. Elected and unelected officials at all levels of government have an impact on what we’re taught in school, by whom, and how — not to mention how it’s all paid for. To further complicate the picture, the degree of control retained by school districts directly can vary dramatically between states subject to a state’s constitution, laws, and regulations.

The below summary outlines, broadly, the role that different levels of our government play in determining education policy. For more information on the structure of school governance in your state, refer to your state education agency.