I missed one big story when I put together today’s morning news roundup, an article in the Wall Street Journal about how mayors across the country are looking to seize control of their cities’ schools. The most interesting nugget suggests that the New York Post was on to something when it said President Obama’s education speech this week amounted to an endorsement of mayoral control.
From the Wall Street Journal article:
Advocates say the structure, in which mayors generally appoint school boards and have the power to pick superintendents, enables tough-minded reforms by promoting stable leadership and accountability. Giving the idea more currency, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, until recently the Chicago schools chief, is a fan and product of mayoral control. And, this week, President Barack Obama promoted some controversial initiatives that have been pushed heavily in districts with mayoral control: charter schools, merit pay for teachers, and accountability, based on rigorous testing standards.
“I would anticipate that over the next few years we will see a new wave” of switches to mayoral authority, says Kenneth Wong, director of Brown University’s urban education policy program, who studies mayoral control of schools.
Mayor Bloomberg and Schools Chancellor Joel Klein today visited a Harlem charter school to tout the similarity of their reforms to those Obama encouraged all districts to enact. The press release about the event does not mention mayoral control.