EPISODE 32: Power of Local School Boards

On Thursday, December 10 at 4:00 pm US-EDT, we present the 31st LIVE episode of the new LearningRevolution.com weekly interview series, REINVENTING SCHOOL.

This time, we'll look at local school boards. Why? According to the OECD, the U.S. is one of the only countries in the world where most decisions about school and education are made at the local level. For the most part, these decisions are made by volunteers who devote a great deal of time and energy to local issues. Most are not trained as educators. Instead, they are concerned citizens with enormous responsibility.

We'll be joined by David Snyder, former Chair of the National Council of American Indian/Alaska Native School Board Members; Armando Rodriguez, now serving his fourth term as a member of the Canutillo ISD School Board in Texas; and Karen Brohm, President of the West Hempstead School Board in a New York City suburb (joining us via audio but not video).

Please join us on Thursdays for our live shows, or visit www.reinventing.school for the recorded versions.


More about this week's guests:

8266588862?profile=RESIZE_180x180David Snyder was the Chair of the AIAN Council and on the NSBA board of directors as an ex officio voting member. I was also an ex-officio voting member for the Western Region for NSBA and the Wyoming School Boards Association.


8266593069?profile=RESIZE_400xArmando 'Mando' Rodriguez is a Leadership TASB Master Trustee serving his fourth term on the Canutillo ISD School Board, where his fellow trustees have elected him as Board President, Vice President and Secretary. Rodriguez has the distinction of being one of the youngest people ever to be elected into office in El Paso County, and has made it his mission to improve the quality of education in his community – especially for underserved students. A graduate of Canutillo High School and the University of Texas at El Paso, Rodriguez is a native of the Border and a leader in his community. Through his work, he ensures that students have access to high- quality educational and athletic facilities. He also is one of the founding members of the Canutillo Alumni Foundation for Education – the only organization specifically designed to award scholarships to Canutillo graduates. During his time as a Trustee, Rodriguez has played a key role in modernizing Canutillo schools. Some of the accomplishments while on the Board include the establishment of Northwest Early College, a National Blue Ribbon School and one of the best high schools in the country according to U.S. News & World Report; the creation of the Canutillo Connect initiative that bridged the digital divide in the community by distributing Apple devices to all students and creating better internet connectivity throughout the District; and the back-to-back A rating for the District by the Texas Education Agency – the only District in the region to achieve this distinction. Rodriguez’s work on behalf of students extends beyond El Paso. He serves on the Board of Directors of the National School Board Association, where he also serves as chair of the National Hispanic Council and as Secretary of the National School Board Action Center. Just recently Rodriguez was selected to serve as Secretary of the Texas Association of School Boards, the state’s largest public-education advocacy and support organization. He currently serves as the Region 19 Representative on the TASB Board of Directors. Other leadership positions for Rodriguez include being a member of the Board of Directors for the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials. Previously, Rodriguez has served as president of the Mexican American School Board Association and the Far West Texas School Board Association.


8274954086?profile=RESIZE_400xKaren Brohm is the President of the Board of Education in West Hempstead, New York. A life-long resident of West Hempstead, Karen Brohm has served in various community and elected positions throughout the West Hempstead UFSD and community. She has a strong belief in the value of a quality education and promoting equity and diversity. She volunteers her time to deliver food to families throughout the year and for Thanksgiving. As well, she is a key organizer of our joint venture with a local hospital to deliver holiday gifts to families in need. In 2012, she decided to take the next step in her journey and became a trustee of the Board of Education. She has been on the Board ever since and has served as President for the past 9 years. Karen has been recognized by NYSSBA for her dedication and continued growth as trustee. She has served on several forums to improve education and has been a driving force behind the districts push to a student-led learning environment.


4995562699?profile=RESIZE_400xHoward Blumenthal created and produced the PBS television series, Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego? He is currently a Senior Scholar at The University of Pennsylvania, studying learning and the lives of 21st-century children and teenagers. He travels the world, visiting K-12 schools, lecturing at universities, and interviewing young people for Kids on Earth, a global platform containing nearly 1,000 interview segments from Kentucky, Brazil, Sweden, India, and many other countries. Previously, he was a nationally syndicated newspaper columnist for The New York Times Syndicate, and United Features. He is the author of 24 books and several hundred articles about technology, learning, business, and human progress. As an executive, Howard was the CEO of a public television operation and several television production companies, and a state government official. Previously, he was a Senior Vice President for divisions of two large media companies, Hearst and Bertelsmann, and a consultant or project lead for Energizer, General Electric, American Express, CompuServe, Warner Communications, Merriam-Webster, Atari, and other companies.


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Before the virus, more than a billion children and teenagers relied upon school for learning. After the virus (or, after the current wave of our current virus), basic assumptions about school and education are no longer reliable. School buildings may become unsafe for large numbers of students. The tax base may no longer support our current approach to school. Without the interaction provided by a formal school structure, students may follow their own curiosity. Many students now possess the technology to learn on their own. And many do not.

Reinventing.school is a new weekly web television series that considers what happens next week, next month, next school year, and the next five years. Hosted by University of Pennsylvania Senior Scholar Howard Blumenthal, Reinventing.school features interviews with teachers, principals, school district leadership, state and Federal government officials, ed-tech innovators, students, leading education professors, authors, realists and futurists from the United States and all over the world.

Each episode features 2-4 distinguished guests in conversation about high priority topics including, for example, the teaching of public health, long-term home schooling, technology access and its alternatives, the role of parents, friendship and social interaction, learning outside the curriculum, the future of testing and evaluation, interruption as part of the academic calendar, job security for teachers and support staff, setting (and rethinking) curriculum priorities, special needs, student perspectives on the job of school, the importance of play, the psychology of group dynamics and social interaction, preparing for future rounds of a virus (or cyberattack or impact of climate change, etc.), college readiness, higher education transformed, the higher education promise in an economically challenged world, and more. Clearly, there is much to discuss; nearly all of it ranks high on the list of priorities for raising the world’s children.