AASB Supports All Stakeholders to Civilly Participate in Local School Governance
Lon Garrison, AASB Executive Director
The Association of Alaska School Boards strongly believes and affirms its support of school governance that is controlled locally and open and responsive to its stakeholders, including parents, students, staff, community members and organizations, tribes, other governmental organizations, to name a few. AASB also fundamentally believes that a civil, respectful decorum is necessary for good governance to flourish and affect positive outcomes for the students.
“The mission of the Association of Alaska School Boards is to advocate for children and youth by assisting school boards in providing quality public education, focused on student achievement, through effective local governance.”
A core principle of AASB is documented in the membership’s belief statement B1 – LOCAL GOVERNANCE:
Public education is the responsibility of the states and of the local school boards created by those states. This system of local school board governance is one of the purest examples of democracy in action today in that school boards, as locally elected representatives are held accountable for public education by the public they serve as locally elected representatives. The mission of the Association of Alaska School Boards is to advocate for children and youth by assisting school boards in providing students with quality public education, focused on student achievement through effective local governance.
Over this past year, school boards and school staff have worked tirelessly to deal with the consequences of an unprecedented pandemic. The challenges and stresses on the Alaska public education system have been significant and different for each school district, community, family, staff, and student. There has not been one correct answer for everyone, and there likely won’t be.
AASB supports and encourages civil and respectful local engagement between stakeholders and school boards to address the unique challenges we each face. The purpose of public schools is to meet the educational needs of its young people. It is impossible to meet those needs without parental and community engagement. Alaska’s school boards welcome that engagement and have always received it with appreciation, respect, and civility. We work in partnership with our communities.
Threats or intimidation, whether at a school board meeting, school function, in a public place, or at someone’s home, is absolutely unacceptable. Such behavior does not create or encourage effective communication that may enable positive solutions focused on supporting our students. AASB believes calls for federal intervention should originate with local boards, law enforcement, and communities. Should school board members or school staff experience undue intimidation or outright threats, a school board has an obligation to contact local law enforcement to investigate and take appropriate action. Should federal intervention prove necessary, the call for assistance should originate from local law enforcement agencies.
As an association serving school boards throughout the state of Alaska, we are governed and accountable to our membership. We strongly encourage everyone to focus on the goal of providing an excellent public education for every student every day.
Executive Director, Association of Alaska School Boards