Burgum Is Giving Locals Control Over Re-Opening Schools, and That’s Exactly Right


MINOT, N.D. — Gov. Doug Burgum understands one of the most often overlooked aspects of good leadership.

What you don’t do is as important as what you do.

We can see his understanding of this principle in his handling of school re-opening issues.

Yesterday Burgum, alongside Superintendent Kirsten Baesler, announced what they’re calling the K-12 Smart Restart guidelines.

“Developed in collaboration with education associations, tribal leaders, stakeholders, and interim State Health Officer Dr. Andrew Stahl, the K-12 Smart Restart guidelines emphasize local control and decision-making by school boards and administrators in consultation with local public health units and based on guidance from the North Dakota Department of Health, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and other resources,” the news release from Burgum’s office said.

That ponderous sentence is an example of one of Burgum’s weaknesses – anyone who has watched his news conferences knows the man loves his jargon and has yet to find a 10-minute statement he couldn’t take 30 minutes to express — but, alas, not a single one of us is perfect.

If it took Burgum all day to tell us he’s leaving the decision about re-opening schools to local officials, that would still be precisely the sort of leadership North Dakota needs right now.

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