Jonathan Collins

Assistant Professor of Education, Political Science, and International and Public Affairs
Brown University

School Board Democracy During a Time of Crisis
Thursday, May 12, 2022 - 4:30pm to 5:30pm


In CERAS 513 or virtual (link below)

Zoom link

School Board Democracy During a Time of Crisis

The COVID-19 pandemic has raised the stakes for school board meetings both as sites for local democracy and for envisioning racial justice. Thus, I raise the questions: Can school boards be sites for deepening democracy? If so, can democratic engagement foster racial justice, as education policy issues become racialized? I explore these questions through a series of survey research analyses. Using multiple survey experiments, I find evidence that structuring school board meetings to feature public deliberation increases legitimacy and meeting attendance. However, I also find evidence that racial and partisan biases are becoming increasingly more influential in education policy preferences. I interpret this to buttress an argument for more hyper-localized democratic innovation strategies, and I provide early evidence of its potential effectiveness.