TheHome Page of Gerald Lunn, Former Member, Board of Education Beverly Hills Unified
School DistrictMy term as a Board Member ended on December 11, 2001. For now, I plan to keep this site going as a resource , with the caveat that some of the information is now out of date.
I remain concerned about the quality of public education, and believe that most of the problems of public education stem from incompetence, inefficiency and political corruption. I am now putting together a book dealing with these topics and would be grateful to hear from school board members who serve(d) in districts other than Beverly Hills to share their experiences. My sense is that most of the problems in Beverly Hills are not unique, and I am now in the process of confirming this.
In particular, I plan to explore the concept of requiring that more information be made available to the public, over the internet and otherwise. My experience in Beverly Hills was that there was a strong tendency to hide and/or downplay instances of gross incompetence and failure, while trumpeting even the most modest achievements. Does this happen in most districts? I plan to find out.
Similarly, in Beverly Hills, the Superintendents have tended to cultivate a culture of the staff and the Board being expected to always make each other look good, which has reduced/eliminated accountability for wasting millions of dollars and failing to provide the quality of education that could have been provided. Board members who don't go along with this are derided as not being "team players", and Board members who ran on platforms of accountability sing a tune of "let's not make waves" and "let's defer to the staff" once they are in office. Again, I am curious as to whether this happens in most districts.
I would love to hear the experiences of Board members from other Districts, as well as ideas for making public education more efficient. The amount of sheer waste that I saw in Beverly Hills was staggering, and if this is representative of other Districts, I believe that there is substantial reason to believe that by adopting and modifying common business practices of for-profit companies, and requiring dissemination of information in a standard format (that would allow for easy inter-District comparisons), the level of efficiency would improve substantially, resulting in materially better results. To put this another way, I believe that if the average school district was operated with the same level of efficiency as the average Dairy Queen, this would represent a vast level of improvement.
I recognize that the average school district cannot afford to pay the level of salaries of the upper management of a major corporation. However, if there was some way to get some top corporate executives (perhaps retired) to fashion a model to promote greater efficiency that could be adopted by school districts, I believe that this could VASTLY improve public education. It is ironic that as a society we spend so much of our resources on private enterprise and so little on public education, considering the importance of education to the long term success of our society and the world. The best and brightest minds rarely take jobs working for school districts, because they can make so much more money working elsewhere, leaving multimillion school district budgets to be "managed" by people who would never rise above middle management in the private sector (and some of whom could not be trusted to run a hot dog stand). My long-term goal is to create a charitable organization to funnel the efforts of top executives and private sector experts into creating a model that can be administered by any school district, so that deficiencies can be easily identified in much the same manner as a private company uses to identify operations that are being poorly managed.
Please e-mail any experiences/ideas that you wish to share by clicking on the moving hand icon below.
This picture depicts recent ride on Giant Dipper roller coaster in Santa Cruz, where my son Eric is now a Sophomore. Roller coaster ride was relaxing compared with most of the past 4 years.
Note that there are sometimes some new items on this website. Click here to see whats new.
The above pictures are from my last two fishing trips before joining the Board. In August, 2000, I finally found time for some night fishing. Click here if you want to see the pictures.
Not being on the Board any more has given me time to learn how to play the saxaphone.