Betsy DeVos' Senate confirmation this past week allowed for her to become the new Secretary of Education — but her confirmation did not happen without a warranted fight. Thousands of people from all over the nation made a call (or multiple calls) to their representatives and let them know that they did not want DeVos to be confirmed. Now that they're familiar with how to call their Senator, more people should want to know how to run for your local school board — because the fight isn't over yet.
DeVos' confirmation hearing was a close one — and the sheer amount of people who called their representatives about her was absolutely incredible. So many people called, it swayed two Republicans to vote against party lines — and resulted in a history making tie breaker by Vice President Mike Pence. But this progress should not stop now that DeVos is Secretary of Education. Just like voters had the power to make a difference in the education system by contacting their representatives, they have the power to make a difference in their local education system — by simply running in their next school board election. If people are worried about Betsy DeVos and her potential impact on public education nationwide for the next four years, they should consider running for the school board in their area to make a positive change, locally.
According to the National School Board Association, those elected to their school board are to be seen as champions and leaders for public education in their communities — and in compliance with state and federal law, school boards develop and adopt policies, among other important duties.
So how does someone start running for school board? Those interested in protecting funding and programs to their local public schools should become familiar with their own state school board association — which will have some basic information on how to run. Its also a good idea for people to find out when their school board is holding the election — as it varies by area — and set their sights on that time. According to NSBA, all states have different qualifications for their school board and elections are held at different times. Ballotpedia provides helpful information on when school board elections are held in each state for each year. And if people are pretty serious about running for school board, according to Great!Schools, it is important for them to have a head start and get familiar with the local school board by attending public meetings held in their area. By attending these meetings, it makes it easier to determine the major issues going on and how you could bring your insight to the issues and the board, if elected.
Every school board and their elections in every state and county is different — there isn't one clear path to school board elections across the nation. What is important is that those interested in running for a position on their school board should stay informed in both national and local politics. The more those running for a spot on their school board know about Betsy DeVos' potential influence in education, the more passionate they can become about making a change in their own community. Running for a spot on their local school board is a step in that direction.