There is no one school experience. You are right on to say that the school establishes the general expectations for everyone. Your slice of experience has been pressure on students and an abandonment of the school’s support role. The school I’m in is quite the opposite: rural and decades of low performance have created a “going through the motions” approach.
In Stalinist Russia, the saying was “we pretend to work and you pretend to pay us.” My school is even worse: “pay me or else, and even then I will only pretend to have high standards and when you don’t succeed I will blame your parents”.
I concur with the title of the article that the board is the last line of defense against either extreme. However, I know no school board member who views their role that way so I am not optimistic.