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ERIC Number: EJ851912
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Aug
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-1537-5749
Tell It to the Mayor
Schachter, Ron
District Administration, v45 n7 p22-24, 26-28 Aug 2009
Mayoral control of public schools is nothing new. Boston pioneered the practice in 1992, replacing elected school committee members with mayoral appointees. Since then, a dozen urban districts--including Cleveland, Chicago, New York City, and Washington, D.C.--have undergone a similar change in school governance that has shifted some or most of the power to mayors, with some cities having mayors make appointments to the school board and others having mayors outright manage the district budget and spearhead large-scale initiatives. With hundreds of urban school systems nationwide struggling to meet state standards, the idea of mayoral involvement of control has moved to the front burner of educational reform, sparked by the recent endorsement from Secretary of Education Arne Duncan--who as former CEO of Chicago's public schools reported for almost eight years to that city's mayor, Richard Daley. Highly visible debates this spring in New York City and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, the state's capital city, over the effects of mayoral control, as well as a recent push for greater mayoral involvement in the Milwaukee Public Schools, have added fuel to the fire and brought out supporters and opponents alike. Those who have studied mayoral control of public schools, Stanford education professor Michael Kirst among them, say the governance model offers possibilities that might not otherwise exist. "The mayor can give the system a jolt and shake it up in a way you can't with two new school board members elected every year," Kirst says. But Anne Bryant, executive director of the National School Boards Association, says that judging by the attempts at mayoral control so far, she has plenty of doubts, especially since school boards become surrogates for the mayor controlling them and community input is largely left out. "It doesn't get you what you ultimately need--a partnership between the school board and the mayor. Even Arne Duncan says it's about partnership. When you don't have a school board and just have the mayor, you lose the community."
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California; Connecticut; District of Columbia; Illinois; Massachusetts; Michigan; New Jersey; New Mexico; New York; Ohio; Rhode Island; Tennessee; Wisconsin