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Charter Board Partners

Carrie Irvin Remarks at Fall Happy Hour

September 27, 2017 | by Charter Board Partners

At CBP's fall happy hour yesterday, Carrie spoke briefly about our work and why strong nonprofit boards in the public education sector matter. Several people asked for a copy of her remarks, which we are publishing here.

CBP is the only national nonprofit organization focused on nonprofit boards in public education.  We care about boards because we care about quality, equity, and accountability in education.  All of us on the CBP team are educators, and we are in this work because we believe that every single child has the chance to get the great public education that America is supposed to provide.

We do three things:  We recruit, train, and match board candidates to boards that need their skills and experience.  We support boards in all kinds of ways to help them become more effective.  And we offer thought leadership to the sector about why strong boards matter.

Why do strong nonprofit boards in public education matter?

  • They protect public schools from politics
  • They bring citizens with relevant skills and experience together and channel those skills into improving public schools
  • Diverse and inclusive boards can tackle persistent and pervasive issues of race, racism, bias, and power in public education
  • Boards provide an opportunity to genuinely engage communities in the leadership of their schools
  • Boards build community support for strong public schools for all students by helping board members become advocates for better public education

Why do you matter, as board members?  Your skills, talent, wisdom, lived experience, perspective, and heart can help make sure that every public charter school in this city has a diverse, effective board focused on outcomes for kids.

Sometimes being on a board is fun.  Oftentimes it's rewarding.  Usually it's a little hard (PS we can help with that).  And sometimes--and these are those times--being on a board requires courage.  The buck stops with the board.  If things are not going well, the board has to say, hey, we have to figure this out.  If the ED is not the right person in that position, the board has to face it, even if she's your friend, and you love her.  If the board chair is the problem, the rest of the board has to step up and deal with it.  And when it's time to decide, metaphorically and actually, whether the school is going to take a knee, the board has to rise to that occasion and decide what we stand for, what we kneel for, what we will do in service of this mission and to make sure these students get the education they deserve.  The education they need. 

That's why you matter.  You can bring that courage, your voice, your heart, and your leadership.  You are why we do this work, and we are grateful to be in this work with you.