Schools should run like businesses (Thomen)

Ronald Russo’s op-ed piece in Sunday’s News Journal does an excellent job of describing what needs fixing in our public school system. What would business do?

Mr. Russo was founding president of the Charter School of Wilmington. He has been in the trenches. He knows what he is talking about.

Authority to run our schools should reside within the walls of the individual schools. “Districts would hire and evaluate CEOs (principals), review appeals [of] CEO decisions, approve annual budgets and major capital proposals.”

In other words, run the school and be held responsible for results – like a well-run business.

The thing that was missing in his analysis was how to get districts to get out of the way of proper local CEO (principal) authority. Several years ago, I studied the members of the school boards of four New Castle County school districts: Red Clay, Colonial, Brandywine, and Christina.

More than half of each of these boards were people who had union connections – either themselves or an immediate family member. Until boards are populated by anti-union people, nothing is going to change.

I urge businesses to encourage employees to run for school boards as the opportunities arise – a slow but sure way to reform our public school system.

James R. Thomen

People connected to the current educational establishment have a vested interest in preserving it. Hopefully, the new board members would put the primary emphasis on improving educational results (and doing so in a cost-effective manner, without continually pushing for more money).
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