This article by David Brewster was in the April 12th Crosscuts. I think he makes some valid points. Whether you believe Cheryl Chow's strong leadership is a good thing or bad thing depends on how you like her style. She gives the appearance of being willing to walk over anyone who gets in her way.
He gives kudos to Board candidates Peter Meier and Sherry Carr. I agree with some of the comments following the article about Peter. Peter is a bright, qualified person but I have never heard him give one opinion of his own about the district. He has worked on Schools First for a long time which required him to parrot anything staff told him about facilities. It would be important to go to candidate forums and get him to give an opinion before believing he would be a good Board member. Brewster also says Meier wants to "stay the course" on strategy. Great and what has that non-discernable strategy been so far?
He ends with this:
"Would a smart, coherent board be enough? Hard to say. Experts say that no large urban district with an elected board has been able to sustain the hard reforms needed for enough years to make a real difference. Boards turn over frequently, fall into factions that grind up superintendents, lack key skills. Appointed boards at least promise more stability and more careful assignment of role players with the right skills. But who can really imagine taking away public votes on School Board elections? Mayor Nickels and former Mayor Rice toy with the idea and back off. State Sen. Ed Murray, the Seattle Democrat, introduced a bill in the current session of the Legislature to move toward, or at least threaten, an appointed board. It went nowhere fast."
I think a smart, coherent board would be enough if they worked together on a clear, focused strategy with a superintendent who could enact what the Board directs her to do. But all would be lost if the Board and the superintendent do not listen to parents about what they want to see in public schools. From past discussions that sounds like quality schools in all areas of the city, a more coherent enrollment plan and duplication of programs that parents favor.