Tuesday, August 15, 2017

ECS State Governance Structures

The Education Commission of the States this week released the 2017 update to its  State Education Structures report.  The report describes the kinds of structures each of the 50 states uses to establish the state education governing bodies.   

The report indicates that most state governance models fall into one of four categories, as described below: 

  1. Model I:  Appointed Board, Appointed Chief.  This model involves the electorate electing the Governor, who then appoints both the State Board of Education and the Chief State School Officer.  10 states use this model:  Delaware, Iowa, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, and Virginia. 

  1. Model II: Governor Appoints Board, Board Appoints Chief.  This model involves the electorate electing the Governor, who then appoints the State Board of Education, which in turn appoints the Chief State School Officer.  12 states use this model:  Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, Rhode Island, and West Virginia.  

  1. Model III:  Appointed Board, Elected Chief.  This model involves the electorate electing both the Governor and the Chief State School Officer, then the Governor appoints the State Board of Education.  10 states use this model:  Arizona, California, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and Wyoming. 

  1. Model IV: Elected Board, Board Appoints Chief.  This model involves the electorate electing both the Governor and the State Board of Education and the State Board electing the Chief State School Officer. 6 states use this model: Alabama, Colorado, Kansas, Michigan, Nebraska, and Utah. 

The remaining 12 states (Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Mexico, New York, Nevada, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin) have modified versions of the four models described above. 

The model that Kansas uses (Model IV) is used by the fewest number of states, but is the same model as used by our neighbors Colorado and Nebraska.  Missouri and Oklahoma both use models where the Governor appoints the State Board of Education.   

The Education Commission of the States has the following to say about the model used by Kansas: 

Of the four models, Model IV provides the governor the least amount of direct authority over education governance. The state board of education is directly accountable to voters; however, the board’s ability to reshape policy is often limited by statutory constraints.  In an environment where governors have limited formal incentive to take a strong stance on education issues, this support may be difficult to obtain. As such, this governance dynamic produces a context where education leaders may be empowered to shape policy and remain flexible at the state level, but have limited ability to press for expansive policy changes that require significant funding or substantial policies changes. 

KASB will soon be releasing our 2017 State Education Report Card, where we rank the states on a variety of student attainment and achievement measures.  The following table shows how these different governance models align with the state student outcome ranks.   

Governance Model 
Rank Tier 
Average Rank 
1 
2 
3 
4 
5 
I 
4 
4 
2 


          13.8  
II 
3 
3 
2 
2 
2 
          22.3  
III 

2 
2 
3 
3 
          33.1  
IV 
2 

3 
1 

          21.0  
V 
1 
1 
1 
4 
5 
          34.4  

States with Governance Model I, where the Governor appoints both the State Board and the Chief State School Officer, had an average student outcome rank of 13.8, which is higher than for the other four models.  Four states in this group were in the top ten, four in the top 20 and two were in the middle tier for outcome ranks. 

States with Governance Model IV, which includes Kansas, had the second highest average rank at 21.0.  Two states in this group (Kansas and Nebraska) were in the top ten, and the remaining states were in the middle tier or lower.   

States with Governance Model II had an average rank of 22.3, with three states in this group in the top ten, three in the top twenty, and the rest in the middle tier or lower.  

States with Governance Model III had an average rank of 33.1, with no states in this group in the top ten, two in the top twenty, and the rest in the middle tier or lower. 

The remaining states, represented by Governance Model V, had an average rank of 34.0, and were largely in the bottom two tiers for student outcome ranks.   

Though there is likely no direct connection between state governance models and student outcomes, it is interesting to note that in general states with the two models involving a top-down approach to governance, with the Governor appointing the State Board and either directly appointing the State Chief or influencing the appointment via the State Board, tend to have better student outcomes. These models would likely produce a governance structure with less conflict, as the Board and Chief would be more likely to agree with the Governor.  This could lead to higher student outcomes as all parties involved are on the same page when it comes to promoting the needs of the students. 

In Kansas, we are not so lucky to have a Governor, State Board, and State Education Chief that are all working from the same page.  Though we focus a lot on funding and policy as it impacts student outcomes, perhaps we need to consider how conflict at the top might impact the motivation and engagement of our students.   

For more information, check out the full report here. 

No comments:

Post a Comment