• New research shows nearly three-fourths of current board members don’t plan to run for reelection after their team, nonprofit group School Board Partners found.
  • The research shows most school boards don’t represent the diversity of the students who attend the schools they make critical decisions for.
  • It all comes at a time when conservative groups are supporting brand new parents’ rights advocates who want to pass policies that ban racial and social justice curriculum and books from their kids’ classrooms.

Long gone are the days when school board members held onto political power. Nearly three-fourths of board members don’t plan to run for reelection after their current term, new research shows.

A “great resignation” of school board members, including some who have made strides in furthering student equity, will leave hundreds of school board seats up for grabs in the coming years, according to nationally representative research by School Board Partners, a national nonprofit group that trains new school board members. 

There are a slew of school board elections next week, and newcomers far and wide across the nation will enter those seats over the next several months. And the members who replace older ones will be the ones making key decisions on what’s taught in schools, how money is spent and to what degree their superintendents are held accountable.

The shift comes at a time when conservative groups are supporting candidates who want to pass local policies that ban racial and social justice teachings in classrooms and books from their kids’ classrooms. 

On the other side of the political aisle, some advocates and experts calling for more diversity in school leadership see the turnover as an opportunity to elect members who reflect the demographics of the kids they represent. 

“It’s critically important to look at all levels of school organization to ensure they match the diversity of the student population,” said Travis J. Bristol, an associate professor of teacher education and education policy at the University of California Berkeley. “It should be the north star given our country’s long-standing belief that diversity is a strength.”  

More:Students walk out, superintendents stress and parents rage: What’s happening as some school boards become more political