Poor voter turnout in school board elections; a curse or a blessing?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by LimaUniformNovemberAlpha, Mar 6, 2021.

  1. LimaUniformNovemberAlpha

    LimaUniformNovemberAlpha Rookie

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    Mar 6, 2021

    I'm sure most people who've done their teacher-training recently enough; and/or have been in teaching long enough to hear this brought up at teachers' union meetings; have heard of how low voter turnout is in school board elections, even compared to other elections.

    Now, in other elections, how strongly you feel about it isn't necessarily a reflection of the merit of your opinions on it. (And indeed, voter suppression measures show that neither of these factors determine your likelihood to show up.) But I often wonder if education might be an exception. What factors determine your likelihood to show up for a school board election in particular? Even before I became a teacher, I'd also been abnormally obsessed with the concept of accusations of bias in what schools teach, as someone whose skepticism of some of it had been barely suppressed by a "wouldn't want to be mistaken for just using it as an excuse for laziness" fear and whose skepticism of it spilled over as soon as the lid was broken by not doing as well in college as I did in high school, knowing I'd be accused of laziness anyway.

    Then again, I hadn't even been paying attention to school board elections within the first few years of me hitting voting age. It was only a few years after that that I bothered following them, let alone voting in them.

    Nonetheless, the stakes are high enough, to everyone else, that voters in more general elections still re-elect the officials who pour billions of tax dollars into it. So why do these people so seldom show up? Are they deliberately passing the buck to those who've looked into this sort of thing thoroughly enough to have more strongly held opinions than they do? How do they know how their own knowledge; let alone how strongly they feel about it; compares to others?
     
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  3. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    Mar 6, 2021

    Neither - just a fact of life.
     
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  4. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    Mar 7, 2021

    They are always part of our general election. There isn’t any kind of special election for school board members.
     
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  5. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

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    Mar 8, 2021

    I suspect if they truly feel strongly about it, they'll show up. And some people will habitually show up to any election.

    There are probably lots who express strong feelings about their school board members and still don't show up, and there are likely a variety of explanations. Some might feel their vote doesn't make a difference, some might be simply disorganized and don't keep track of school board elections. I think those with kids in the schools are more likely to vote in general, though that's probably not universal.

    I do know of one county where most of the people who voted for the school board sent their kids to private school. They were organized, and voted in members from their own group to reduce the school budget as much as possible. The public school quality sank as a result, offering virtually no extracurricular programs. People started deserting the area, driving the housing prices down, which allowed the ones organizing to arrange for more people to come in who would vote their way.
     
  6. Pisces

    Pisces Companion

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    Mar 8, 2021

    Those "evil" private school teachers.... tsk tsk. :eyeroll:

    cool story.
     
  7. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

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    Mar 9, 2021

    It wasn't teachers.

    C'mon, Pisces, do you really think I'm making this up?
     
  8. LimaUniformNovemberAlpha

    LimaUniformNovemberAlpha Rookie

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    Mar 9, 2021

    To be fair, no one is entitled to being believed by a stranger on the Internet. If someone accused me of making up my anecdotes (and on other sites they have), that'd be okay, because they work just as well if they were hypotheticals as they work as anecdotes; one should never rely on them being anything more on a medium as notorious for dishonesty as the Internet. No one believes ALL anecdotes and it's better we be skeptical than allow our biases to make us pick and chose.

    Do you have a more verifiable source to back up the claim, though?

    (As for my own claims about school board elections; here is an example of a region that holds their school board elections separately from provincial and federal elections.)
     
  9. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

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    Mar 19, 2021

    True, no one is entitled to be believed and it's good to be skeptical. But I've posted here a fair amount and I'm a little surprised if Pisces really thinks I'm lying about this.

    However, sure I have a verifiable source: https://www.brookings.edu/blog/brown-center-chalkboard/2021/02/17/who-governs-our-public-schools/
     
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