Michael W. Kirst

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In recent years, a spate of cities -- including Boston, Chicago, and Cleveland -- have shifted governance structures to give more control to mayors in the hope that such changes would ultimately lead to improved school quality and student achievement, as well as to diminished scandal and turmoil in the school systems. A closer look at these instances, however, shows that these governance changes have to be understood within the broader context of a particular city, and the particular frustration and challenges that led to the willingness to alter the top levels of educational control. The ways in which mayors have become more engaged with schooling have varied -- from low involvement (for example, trying to influence traditional school board elections) to high involvement (gaining formal control over the schools or appointment of school board members). Just as each city is different, so are the impacts (such as can be determined) of governance changes. Most importantly, it is difficult to link these governance shifts to improved instructional practices or outcomes.



Date Posted: 06 July 2015