The Education Mayor

The Education Mayor: Improving America's Schools

Kenneth K. Wong
Francis X. Shen
Dorothea Anagnostopoulos
Stacey Rutledge
Copyright Date: 2007
Pages: 272
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  • Book Info
    The Education Mayor
    Book Description:

    In 2002 the No Child Left Behind Act rocked America's schools with new initiatives for results-based accountability. But years before NCLB was signed, a new movement was already under way by mayors to take control of city schools from school boards and integrate the management of public education with the overall governing of the city. The Education Mayor is a critical look at mayoral control of urban school districts, beginning with Boston's schools in 1992 and examining more than 100 school districts in 40 states. The authors seek to answer four central questions: • What does school governance look like under mayoral leadership? • How does mayoral control affect school and student performance? • What are the key factors for success or failure of integrated governance? • How does mayoral control effect practical changes in schools and classrooms? The results of their examination indicate that, although mayoral control of schools may not be appropriate for every district, it can successfully emphasize accountability across the education system, providing more leverage for each school district to strengthen its educational infrastructure and improve student performance. Based on extensive quantitative data as well as case studies, this analytical study provides a balanced look at America's education reform. As the first multidistrict empirical examination and most comprehensive overall evaluation of mayoral school reform, The Education Mayor is a must-read for academics, policymakers, educational administrators, and civic and political leaders concerned about public education.

    eISBN: 978-1-58901-436-7
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Tables
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Preface
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  5. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xv-xvi)
  6. INTRODUCTION: Mayoral Governance in Education Gains Prominence
    (pp. 1-10)

    The 1990s saw the emergence of a “new style” of mayor interested in taking a strong leadership role in their city’s school system. Two mayors, Chicago’s Richard M. Daley and Boston’s Thomas Menino, have been at the forefront of this ground-breaking movement. On October 25, 1996, Mayor Daley visited Boston and made a joint appearance with Mayor Menino. The topic was public education. Both mayors made it clear where they stood on the mayor’s role. “As president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, I believe that education is the greatest challenge facing our cities today,” Daley said. Menino agreed: “Mayor...

  7. CHAPTER ONE The Historical and Political Context of Integrated Governance
    (pp. 11-27)

    The recent trend toward mayoral control of school boards represents a historic shift in urban school governance. Since the turn of the twentieth century, city schools have been separate and insulated from city hall. The emergence of new-style education mayors who have advocated for and gained expanded formal power over city schools has given rise to integrated governance. Driven by mayors concerned with reinvigorating their cities in the face of major economic, social, and cultural shifts, this integrated governance places city schools at the center of efforts to improve the quality of life of city residents.

    In this chapter, we...

  8. CHAPTER TWO The New-Style Education Mayors
    (pp. 28-51)

    In the 1990s, Chicago’s Mayor Richard M. Daley and Boston’s Mayor Thomas Menino represented the vanguard of a new style of education mayors that put education performance at the forefront of their agendas for economic growth and civic renewal. Over the course of the past decade, mayors in Cleveland, New York, Providence, and several other cities have taken over leadership of their cities’ schools. Other mayors have identified education as a central issue. In Ohio, the Ohio Mayors’ Education Roundtable has expanded from the eight to the twenty-one largest districts in the state (Edelstein 2005). In the 2005 Minneapolis mayoral...

  9. CHAPTER THREE Evaluating the Effects of Mayoral Control
    (pp. 52-75)

    Mayor-led integrated governance of urban school districts is a policy reform aimed at many, multilevel systemic effects. Given such a diverse set of outcomes that mayors may affect, how can we properly evaluate their impact? How can we tell if mayors are making a difference?

    There are many ways to evaluate and analyze the rise of mayor-led integrated governance. In this book, we employ a mixed-methods approach. Our quantitative analysis focuses primarily on achievement, financial, and staffing outcome variables that are measurable across districts. When such measures are not readily available, most notably in the high school context, we turn...

  10. CHAPTER FOUR Integrated Governance as a Strategy to Improve School Performance
    (pp. 76-98)

    In today’s climate of outcome-based performance accountability, one question stands out above the rest: Does mayoral control improve student performance? Student achievement is the first thing people think of when they consider education reform. And when standardized test scores are reported each year, they draw citywide interest. In the summer of 2005, for example, upon release of recent New York City test scores, the City Council questioned whether the test score gains claimed by the mayor’s office were in fact the result of the governance change. As the chairwoman of the City Council’s Education Committee put it, “It’s very important...

  11. CHAPTER FIVE Considering the Gap between High- and Low- Performing Schools
    (pp. 99-112)

    Since the passage of the No Child Left Behind Act, there has been close scrutiny of the achievement gap and the needs of the lowest-performing schools. In this context, mayoral control raises questions of equity. Though in the previous chapter we examined the effects of mayoral control on overall district achievement, we did not look at where those gains are coming from. Does mayoral control contribute to, or help to reduce, achievement inequality in school districts? That is the question we explore in this chapter. We examine the nature of the achievement gap between the top-and bottom-performing schools in each...

  12. CHAPTER SIX Accountability and Urban High Schools: The Challenge of Improving Instructional Practices
    (pp. 113-139)

    The previous chapters of this book have examined mayoral control as a strategy to improve student achievement in low-performing school districts. These chapters have discussed how mayoral control facilitates an integrated governance arrangement in which authority at the systemwide level is streamlined and political incentives converge to target resources to low-performing schools. In this chapter, we turn to Chicago’s experience with mayoral control between 1995 and 2000 with the specific interest of examining how the governance approach affects teaching and learning in low-performing schools.

    Past studies on mayoral control have tended to focus on whether the governance approach increases district...

  13. CHAPTER SEVEN Toward Strategic Deployment of Resources
    (pp. 140-160)

    Mayor-led integrated governance as a reform policy is distinguished by its broad reach. Mayors are in a position not only to improve teaching and learning but also to fundamentally alter the financial and management conditions in which teaching and learning occur. At the same time, however, they are operating in an environment that is often hostile to change. Whether or not mayors can make good on their promise to improve fiscal efficiency remains an open question. In this chapter, we address this question by examining a wide range of fiscal management and staffing indicators. We are able to examine these...

  14. CHAPTER EIGHT The Political Dynamics of Building Public Support for Education
    (pp. 161-186)

    In addition to the productivity and management improvements that we have discussed over the course of the last four chapters, education mayors have the potential to build public confidence in their cities’ school systems by raising public awareness about reform efforts and improving public opinion about city schools. Achieving this goal of increased public confidence requires a mix of institutional reform and personal leadership from the mayor. In this chapter, we explore both of these dimensions.

    There are theoretical arguments on both sides of the mayoral leadership debate. On one hand, the integrated governance perspective posits that mayoral leadership will...

  15. CHAPTER NINE Mayorally Governed School Districts as Laboratories of Democracy
    (pp. 187-200)

    From mayors who are improving student performance to those maintaining fiscal discipline and raising the profile of public education in their cities, the last decade has witnessed the rise of new-style mayors who are changing the face of urban education in the United States. The question for the future is: How will other cities learn from this first wave of mayoral control? On the basis of successes such as Boston and Chicago, and failures such as Detroit and Washington, how can mayors best help their city schools? As the last chapter illustrated, most U.S. mayors still find themselves isolated from...

  16. Appendix Achievement Analysis Methodology and Additional Findings for Chapter Four
    (pp. 201-206)
  17. Notes
    (pp. 207-218)
  18. References
    (pp. 219-236)
  19. Index
    (pp. 237-254)