Netflix CEO Reed Hastings: Get Rid of School Boards

Billionaire Netflix CEO and Rocketship Education investor Reed Hastings says he's figured out the problem with public education: Democratically elected school boards.

Governing bodies with term limits and shifting leadership are the problem, he says, and they should be phased out and replaced with privately held corporations.

“Now if we go to the general public and we say, 'Here's an argument why you should get rid of school boards,' of course no one's going to go for that,” Hastings said at a California Charter Schools Association conference earlier this month. “School boards have been an iconic part of America for 200 years.”

Local anti-charter school activists responded by saying that school boards are "iconic" because they're a foundation of local government. They wield authority to levy taxes and should reflect the community's values.

Hastings sits on Rocketship's national advisory board and has poured millions of dollars into the up-and-coming charter chain. He also donated $50,000 to a political action committee that backed pro-charter Santa Clara County Office of Education members.

“Aristocracy and oligarchy have been tried plenty of times,” Brett Bymaster, of, editorialized online. “Our predecessors got on a boat to escape them. We don't want our progeny to have to do the same.”

Here's a clip of the keynote address:

Jennifer Wadsworth is the former news editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley. Follow her on Twitter at @jennwadsworth.


  1. I do hope the likes of Craig Mann, Manuel Herrera, and Patricia Martinez-Roach, just to name a few, see this piece.

  2. He’s wrong. Improve schools by getting rid of the COunty offices of Education. They siphon money from the local schools and do nothing for local education. School boards should report directly to the State.

  3. Agree about the COE, lots of admin, little bang for the buck
    As far as Charters, they game the system, their proven record of “counseling out” those students who fail to perform and make the necessary gains on the standardized tests they point to as proof of their successes. This skews their test results higher.

    The ex-charter student returns to traditional K-12, given the explanation that “Johnny isn’t meeting his potential, it’s not his fault, perhaps the charter school is failing to meet his real needs, this may not be the right fit for him.” and so the student is counseled out by the “team”

    This way charter pushes off under-performing students who then return to traditional K-12, and test, thereby lowering the test averages for K-12 overall. and provides the “proof” these charter schools and their supporters purport….that K-12 is a broken system…nah, there are problems, but the Charters, they’re just cherry-picking.

  4. I’m gonna say, I am not finding value in either. I’ve not heard of the counsel out concept outside of what Evergreen high school was doing.

    We are looking at education from zero – senior citizens. We learn throughout our life and our education and public service delivery model needs to change.

    I did a six sigma on the waste and can show you where all the dead bodies lay. Our charter school grant application was denied by Alum Rock despite the hundreds of parents signatures and a hundred parents who showed up to give their testimony.

    How can a failing school district operating on waivers know or be allowed to deny or approve any charter grant?

    Our implementation charter school grant was already funded by the state department of education and we were working with the best charter development company in the US (EdTech). Each of the charter development person’s had dual MBA’s (1 ivy league and 1 accredited university). Twice what the board held.

    Really, the district board nor their attorney’s were qualified to speak on the quality of the application nor curriculum. You cannot imagine the disgust to be a parent without a right to exercise my parental choice. I collected 200 signatures in just two days, the speed of our petition (backup) was proof of the parent choice.

    I know some investors who are looking to buy land in California, they are also sponsoring a 50 acre campus with a performing arts center for a transformation school in NY. Love to help break down some barriers and armed with research and a pretty impressive cast of characters in a hunting party- The Order of The Earth (think tank).

  5. Getting rid of elected officials just puts control in the governor’s hands and therefore no way to fight poor Ed reforms. Never give away your right to vote that way you can vote them out when necessary.
    No more Netflix for me!

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