Who’s Running This Show? Part II


We’ve looked at how the Missouri School Board Association (MSBA) serves to make every school board in Missouri identically subservient to school administrators. In two sort segments, let’s explore how this happens.

The MSBA is made up of delegates from member school boards. These delegates meet and “decide” how school boards ought to function, form model school board policies (which actually become word for word adopted policies for member boards) and decide what the MSBA position is to be with respect to proposed or pending legislation. This is how school boards become clones; but what real power do the delegates have?

Imagine what we already know about how effective a three-hour meeting once a month is in governing your local school district. Transfer that to a once-a-year meeting designed to govern your school board? And that’s what this “association” does. Through the formulation of identical school board policies, the “advice” rendered identically to school boards, the consolidation of school public venues (websites, publications, etc.), the single-minded stance on every piece of education legislation being considered in the state, and the important “training” given to school boards each time new members are elected the MSBA has rendered every school board in the state of Missouri its servants. And these delegates, with their infrequent meetings, see no choice but to delegate this government to the standing, full-time positions that are really the MSBA. The MSBA isn’t really an organization of school boards any more than your school board is a representative body for your community. It’s a stand-alone organization of professionals trained to keep school boards in the corral. But, in case you were saying “It couldn’t get worse than this.”, it’s even more insidious and incestuous.

Aside from a cadre of “education experts” who are the day-to-day operators of the MSBA, the organization allows associate membership. These are primarily vendors of curricula, social programs, architects and building contractors, law firms specializing in skirting laws and policies, etc. The helpful for-profit agencies pay the MSBA for direct influence over the MSBA members through their influence over the day-to-day operators. Do you imagine that open bidding for a multi-million-dollar school construction project is open bidding when architects and contractors are paying the MSBA money? Do you imagine that a school board’s selection of a law firm to represent them in deciding whether they’ve treated a teacher right isn’t unfairly tainted by the fact that law firms pay the MSBA money? More importantly, do you think the board elected to govern the curricula of your community’s school does much shopping around when the vendors of the “expert” codified curricula are paying the MSABA money? Probably not.

In four short segments, we have led the reader to a firmer understanding of how and why every school district in Missouri who, for reasons they see as necessary and advantageous, have joined the Missouri School Board Association and have become basically the same school district. The state is, for all intents and purposes, one single-minded, single-bodied school district totally separate and distinct from the mind and body of the electorate who think they are electing representatives to govern their local school. But how does this, as bad as it is, get us to the far worse scenario of a school governed completely by the iron fist of the overpaid, overstaffed, top-heavy administration of education “experts?’

In the next segment we will meet the Missouri Education Roundtable.


  1. Aaron Baker on May 22, 2023 at 9:44 pm

    My school district isn’t a member of MSBA. We are members of MOARE. MOARE actually has more member schools than MSBA and it’s cheaper. Unfortunately, they both use the same lobbyist(s). I think rural schools have different interests than others.

Leave a Comment