Articles tagged with mayoral control

Center for Public Education report finds no gains in mayoral control

Collaboration between mayors and school boards, not mayoral takeovers, can lead to better school governance and student achievement, according to a new report by the Center for Public Education (CPE) at the National School Boards Association (NSBA).

Toward Collaboration, Not A Coup: What the research says about mayoral involvement in urban schools,” explores the intersects between effective school boards and involved mayors. In its review of existing research on mayoral control, the report categorizes the various existing forms of mayoral involvement, examines benefits and challenges for school districts, then argues for effective relationships between school boards and mayors.

Through secondary analysis, CPE found that mayoral takeovers are “a rare, and largely urban phenomenon,” and out of more than 13,000 school districts in the U.S., only about 20 have come under formal mayoral control in the last 20 years. Researchers have been unable to determine conclusively whether the mayoral governance model actually improves academics and student achievement.

The report also found that mayors can provide great benefits to public schools in other ways, especially by enabling better integration and coordination of services for children and families.

“What this research suggests is that while the interest of mayors in public schools can bring benefits to public education, a mayoral takeover risks disengaging community interests and disregards the governance responsibility of elected school board leaders,” said Thomas J. Gentzel, NSBA’s Executive Director.

The report recommends several steps for mayors and school boards to work collaboratively to improve student achievement, including:

• Formal and informal processes for coordination between the mayor’s office, school boards and superinten¬dent.

• Clearly defined areas of responsibility for the school board, mayor’s office, and other agencies that are involved;

• Media coverage and community outreach to increase voter participation in school board elections; and

• Professional development for school boards and other leadership teams.

“Nothing indicates that students would necessarily benefit if public schools were run by mayors,” said CPE Director Patte Barth. “But takeovers come with a high risk of disenfranchising parents and other community members. A better approach for districts would be the collaborative involvement of mayors, school leaders and the communities they serve.”

Alexis Rice|June 11th, 2014|Categories: School Boards, Center for Public Education, Urban Schools|Tags: , |

Money talks; states, cities revamp policies to compete for Race to the Top funds

The Obama administration harnessed a strong public will and desire for change when it took office this year. Now that they’ve got the office, they’ve quickly learned how to issue a call to action: dangle lots of cash.

And some of the actions that states and districts are taking to have a chance to compete for the federal Race to the Top funds are pretty drastic, considering the typical slow churn of education policy.

California is the most obvious example, where Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is heeding what many saw as a blatant attempt by the Obama administration to change the state policy on teacher evaluations. Gov. Schwarzenegger has proposed a legislative initiative that would change the way student achievement data is used and allow student progress to be used in evaluating teachers. But what’s truly interesting about this situation is the predicament that it creates for the unions, particularly the mighty California Teachers Association, the state’s main teachers’ organization.

The CTA and other unions have pretty much gotten their way with the Democratic-controlled legislature over the years, including the approval of the 2006 law that banned the state from linking student and teacher data and now has irked the Obama administration.

Schwarzenegger is now seeking to undo that law, as well as remove caps on the number of charter schools, force districts to shut down or reconstitute their lowest performing schools, and adopt a merit-pay system, all in order to compete for the badly needed funds. He says that’s what Obama wants–and how can anyone, especially a union that supported Obama’s candidacy, argue against that? So instead, the CTA and other unions say these actions are premature, as the final regulations for the Race to the Top funds have not been announced yet.   

Naomi Dillon|September 2nd, 2009|Categories: Student Achievement, American School Board Journal|Tags: , , , |
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