National League of Cities; Institute for Youth, Education, and Families

This qualitative study concludes that America’s municipal governments are best positioned to better the lives of children, youth, and families. Education is but one piece of this. For the most part, the focus is how to get the community--parents, businesses, and philanthropy--more involved in education reform. The report considers three categories of such engagement: innovations, emerging trends, and established trends. In a case study format, it presents examples of how cities might use a nonprofit organization to recruit top-notch talent (such as Mind Trust is doing in Indianapolis) or use business practices to bring more transparency to schools (like Mayor Rick Baker’s "Mayor’s Mentors and More" in St. Petersburg, Florida). The report is comprehensive: It looks at a variety of issues, school-based and not, that can be affected by municipal involvement. That means that while it acknowledges that health and housing problems are hindering kids from their best performances in schools, cities--not schools--should lead the effort to solve them. Read the study, here.

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