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Review
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Dr. Spencer’s book shines a spotlight on a serious threat to quality education and effective leadership and
management of public schools today; exploitive school board members. While most school board members are good public
servants with a commitment to quality schools and quality education, exploitive board members undermine the leadership
and management of school superintendents and are a threat to the quality of America’s schools. This book clearly
outlines the problem, discusses the impact on schools, children and community and presents ideas to help solve the
problem. This is a must read for school administrators, school board members, parents and citizens interested in quality
governance and quality education. (John Oldani, Ed. D., former superintendent of schools in two of Missouri’s largest
suburban school districts, vice-president for student development, Lindenwood University, St. Charles, MO)

From my position, I see firsthand the devastation created by the bully on the governing board. In public education, we
have identified the problem with student on student bullying, and are attempting to find solutions. Not so with members
of the Board and other adults who engage in improper, abusive and destructive conduct. Kudos to Dr. Spencer for
stripping off the veil of denial by exposing and offering solutions for this real threat to public education. (George
Cole, executive director, California School Personnel Commissioners Association)

Mark Twain once said, "In the first place, God made idiots. That was for practice. Then he made school boards." Many
have echoed this sentiment over the years, because so often these well-intentioned individuals make very big mistakes in
their zeal to govern schools. Matt Spencer knows first hand that many honorable people become school board members, but
more often than not, the perceived power of the position results in their governing their self-interest and not the
interest of the children whose interests they were selected to serve. Most people will never know this in their
lifetime. Matt Spencer boldly and gratefully goes where few have tread, save for Twain. (Jeanne Allen, president, Center
for Education Reform)

The idea of public education governed by locally-elected boards is a good one, but the outcome in too many cases is just
what Dr. Spencer's title suggests -- a field of opportunistic and power-driven politicos who exploit our children. To
fix this as Spencer suggests, we must see America's children as "our children," to step up on their behalf in the same
way we would if they were our own blood. Because children, especially those entrusted to our public education system,
represent the life blood of our social and economic future. As citizens, we need to heed Dr. Spencer's call to action.
Yes, be enraged by what you learn. But then become engaged as an effective part of the solution. (Julie Davis Salisbury,
co-founder of Step Up or Step Down, a citizen movement formed to monitor governance crises facing Atlanta's public
school system)

America's 14,000 odd school boards rarely police their own ranks; nor do they as a rule get more than superficial
scrutiny from the press or the public. The results are predictable, as Matt Spencer details in Exploiting Children:
School Board Members Who Cross The Line. This is a must-read for anyone who still thinks that school boards represent
the best of American democracy. In this passionate book, Spencer reminds us that when officials say they are in it for
the children, it's time to watch your wallet. Too many school boards combine the non-transparency of bureaucracy with
the demagoguery of democracy---the worst of both worlds.
(Robert Maranto, University of Arkansas; editor, Journal of School Choice)

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About the Author
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Dr. Matt Spencer is a veteran educational leader who has served in public education in Missouri and
California for thirty-four years. As the Senior Consultant with the Workplace Bullying Institute of Bellingham,
Washington, Dr. Spencer champions efforts to ensure the schoolhouse is a safe, productive and abuse-free environment for
students to learn and employees to serve.

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