In New Zealand every single school runs itself. They make their own decisions re what they teach within the NZ curriculum, when the school will close for things like parent / teacher interviews,what they pay their support staff, if they want to employ extra teachers paid for by the board, when they start and finish the school year (within a period of set dates) etc. It is fantastic. There are o overpaid school administrators and schools can basically do what they want within reason!
Every school is governed by a school board of trustees. Within a state school, elections for this board are held every 3 years. 2013 is election year.
I have been a member of a school board as one of the 5 elected parent representatives for the past 3 years. It has been the motif credible experience. We meet every month for a 2-3 hour meeting with the school principal and a staff representative and gooer such things as the school budget (schools get money and how they spend it is entirely up to them!), curriculum matters, test results, learn about professional development teachers are undertaking , building matters, resourcing matters - you name it everything! I have a huge knowledge of how schools and especially (the horrible and to me pointless) NationalStandards work .I know all about how the Ministry of Education works (whether for the good of a school or not) and the blasted Novopay system (new pay system implemented last year and most schools have had teachers under or over paid or not paid at all. Currently there are 18,000 pay issues to sort!!!)
Anyway nominations for elections open on May 2nd and close on May 16. Contact your local school, talk to current board members and go and nominate yourself - it is the most rewarding thing you will possibly do while your children are at school! You will learn a lot and be involved in the running of a school which really is a amazing thing! I don't believe any other country in the world runs their schools like this! We really are unique. (do write a bit about yourself, what you would like to achieve, what skills you bring with you etc. Schools need a wide range of people to nominate themselves.)
I am standing again and openly will be re- elected!
My highlight was changing the 40 plus year old grey school uniform that once every pupil had to wear in NZ. The students have gone into their smart new uniforms this year.