Who’s Running This Show?


We’ve explored why school boards are impotent to perform their primary duty and how delegation of that duty has been corrupted. Today we will look at who, if not your elected officials, is really running your school district.

First, meet the Missouri School Board Association (MSBA).

According to Missouri statute, school boards are allowed; not required; to join in association. The spirit of this law is to allow school boards to share ideas, borrow practices, and complete the American experiment of using local and state communities as laboratories for success. Missouri has a few of these associations, but by a huge margin, the MSBA is the largest and most influential. And, like most organizations of this type, the theory and the practice diverge rapidly and in direct proportion to size and money.

In the last segment, I challenged you to pick seven schools, one of which was yours. I challenged you to find the posted school policies and compare them. Now, pick a specific policy. I choose policy GBL. Yes, they are in a handy list and even have the same policy letters/numbers. If your school policy GBL has the words, “An individual Board member has no greater access to confidential personnel records than any member of the public ….,” then your school board is a member of this toxic organization. Your school board is no more in control of your school than your mayor or fire chief or the waitress at your local coffee shop.

I chose GBL because it plays directly into the case study we are going to examine concurrently with this series. Let’s examine what, for now, is a hypothetical. This hypothetical is going to become a real-life finding as we move into a specific case study of a corrupt district.

Suppose a teacher, or two, or three, or even four submit that they have been unfairly treated by the administration, retaliated against, forced into resignation with threats of “career-ending” disciplinary actions and termination, and finally told that they are unallowed to see the derogatory information in their own personnel files. Further suppose that these teachers appealed to the school board for redress of their grievances. Further suppose that the board, after consultation with the superintendent and his lawyer, turned a deaf ear to FOUR teachers making identical, independent claims of mistreatment.

Now suppose that one, or two, or three members of the board of directors wished to swim upstream and entertain these grievances. At least investigate the claims and decide who is right and who is wrong. Sadly, here is a policy of the school board that forbids that.

Now, it’s important to understand, as you read through the long list of state and federal laws and court cases at the bottom of this policy, listed there to support the policy and intimidate you into believing that this policy is law; that not a single one of those laws, statutes, or cases forbids or even implies that both the expunged teacher nor a member of the policy-defined board of appeals for that teacher, from reviewing the facts of the case. It’s just a board policy.

But, the board policy wasn’t written by the board. It was written by the MSBA. And that policy; exactly like every policy in the list; gives omnipotent power to the administration and relegates the school board to the status of servant to their own employee(s).

Why would the MSBA, a body designed by the spirit of the law to support school boards, serve to denigrate your elected school governors and promote school administrators to this lofty position? In the next segment, we will look inside the MSBA and see who is really running that show.


  1. Patrick Henery on May 17, 2023 at 11:28 am

    Yes, this is happening and we are losing a lot of good teachers.

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