Sunday, January 9, 2011

Ohio School Boards Association Award of Achievement.

The Ohio School Boards Association (OSBA) is an organization that represents the 3000+ school board members in the state. Districts join OSBA using taxpayer funds. For large districts, the charge is 70% of the District's Cost Per Pupil, so in Worthington, that works out to $9261/year for 2011. For your $9261, OSBA provides a number of "free" services, some of which are significant such as providing lobbying support for districts and legal advice on school board related matters to board members.

OSBA also has many opportunities for "training". These are fee-based classes that school board members can take to become better, more informed school board members. I've attended a number of OSBA sessions, notably the OSBA Capital Conference, and have found them to be helpful in understanding various aspects of school board governance.

The other day, I received this communication from OSBA in the mail and it inspired this blog post. The mailer describes the OSBA "Award of Achievement". How does one get the "Award of Achievement". Simple. Enroll is as many OSBA taxpayer funded classes as possible.

Now, I'm a big believer in board members learning everything they can about the business of education in the state in order to best represent their constituents, however, I am not a fan of spending taxpayer dollars to do so. Every dollar that board members spend on themselves is a dollar that is taken away from the teachers, students and programs that they are able to offer. This mailer seeks to use the ego-boosting "Award of Achievement" as a way to artificially get board members across the state to take classes and spend taxpayer money. In fact, it goes beyond that. It also introduces the "Master Board Member" as one who takes even more classes over an extended period of time.

Now, don't misunderstand my rant. I'm not saying that all OSBA classes are bad or a waste of money, I'm ranting against OSBA's self-serving "Award of Achievement" and "Master Board Member" status symbols as a way to drum up business. By all means, board members should take classes if they feel the need to get educated on a particular topic, but they should make sure they are doing so for the right reasons. If OSBA wants to recognize board members for excellence, it should pick criteria that does not make profits for OSBA. Otherwise, it would be like Kroger issuing an award of achievement for buying a certain amount of groceries over the course of year which is to say.. meaningless.

No comments:

Post a Comment