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NEPC Talks Education: Discussing the Role of K-12 School Boards in Educational Policymaking

BOULDER, CO (February 16, 2023) – In this month’s episode of NEPC Talks EducationChristopher Saldaña discusses the role of school boards in K-12 educational policymaking with Carrie Sampson, professor of Educational Leadership and Innovation at Arizona State University.

Local school boards serve as the primary connection between communities and their K-12 schools. They set policy and are responsible for, among other things, school personnel, curriculum, and capital expenditures.

Sampson describes how the relationship between local school boards, state governments, and the federal government has changed over time. She notes, for example, that state legislatures and federal and state courts required school boards to desegregate schools. More recently some governors and state legislatures have prohibited some school curricula and educational practices designed to benefit historically marginalized youth.

Sampson recommends that while stakeholders should generally support their school boards they should also push for greater representation of Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) on school boards. She argues that BIPOC school board members are uniquely positioned to speak to the day-to-day challenges posed by racism in schools. Sampson also encourages school board members and stakeholders interested in educational equity and justice to think proactively about organizing to protect school boards from state-level policies that could potentially harm students.

A new NEPC Talks Education podcast episode, hosted by Christopher Saldaña, will be released each month from September through May. 

Don’t worry if you miss a month. All episodes are archived on the NEPC website and can be found here.

NEPC podcast episodes are also available on Apple Podcasts and Stitcher, under the title NEPC Talks Education. Subscribe and follow!

The National Education Policy Center (NEPC), a university research center housed at the University of Colorado Boulder School of Education, produces high-quality information in support of democratic deliberation about education policy. We publish original research, policy briefs, and expert third-party reviews of think tank reports. NEPC publications are written in accessible language and are intended for a broad audience that includes academic experts, policymakers, the media, and the general public. Visit us at: