The Education Mayor: Improving America's Schools
January 22, 2008
Kenneth K. Wong, Francis X. Shen, Dorothea Anagnostopoulos, Stacey Rutledge
Georgetown University Press
It seems like every state chief executive is a self-proclaimed "education governor," and now more and more mayors are getting into the education game. Just in time comes The Education Mayor: Improving America's Schools, an examination of mayoral control of urban schools through quantitative data and case studies of mayor-run districts across the country. The authors set out to learn the impact of mayoral control on student achievement and classroom practices, what school governance looks like when a mayor is at the helm, and what factors contribute to the success or failure of this school-governance structure. In the end, they make a pretty good case for marrying the schoolhouse and city hall, particularly that this move clarifies who is ultimately responsible for reform and results. But they warn that a host of factors play into whether this strategy sinks or swims.
Of particular interest to Buckeye State readers should be the sections pertaining to the Cleveland Municipal School District, which has been under mayoral control for about 10 years and where 70 percent of voters voiced their support of this governance structure in a 2002 referendum. Cleveland's mayor-led system is an anomaly in Ohio, making it difficult to evaluate the district's governance and administration compared to the state's other big urban districts. This book provides a look at Cleveland in the company of its peers across the country.
The Education Mayor has the empirical research and statistics jargon to satisfy wonkish types but those features don't detract from this comprehensive and compelling analysis. Buy the book here.