Former New York Times education correspondent Gene Maeroff decided to get his hands dirty when he ran for his local school board in central New Jersey. Maeroff shares some hard-earned lessons and wisdom about these Toquevillian institutions in his new book, School Boards in America: A Flawed Exercise in Democracy. Education Next’s Mike Petrilli talks with Gene about his experience as a school board member—and now, school board president—and whether he sees a future for this last bastion of local control. Mike wonders whether Gene is right when he says that “Anyone seeking to improve schools ignores the power of school boards at some peril.”

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Last updated May 9, 2011