"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Monday, November 08, 2010

Mayoral Control of Schools? Not So Much

A top priority of the handful of oligarchs who control federal education policy and Arne Duncan is the elimination of public governance of the public schools by ceding power to CEOs, once known as mayors, and eliminating elected school boards.  Mike Klonsky gives us a rundown on how it's going in Chicago.  Not well.  Here's a clip, but do read it all, please at HuffPo:
. . . . Duncan couldn't deliver a victory for Fenty, even while resorting to threats of pulling millions of federal grant dollars from D.C. schools should Gray win. This left many wondering if Duncan only favored mayoral control if he could control the mayor.

But now, with Chicago's schools in a state of leaderless limbo, the problems of having a single autocrat running big-city school systems have become obvious to all. After a decade and a half of Daley's top-down reform efforts, seven of those years with Duncan as the CEO, neighborhood schools remain pretty much as they were. Scores have flattened out. The so-called "achievement gap" continues to widen. Violence has reached pandemic proportions and the school system is on the brink of insolvency. Daley's pet reform project, Renaissance 2010, has been discarded and the phrase banned from usage within the bureaucracy.

Daley's appointed school board has been riddled with scandals, including probes of patronage and civil rights violations. Daley's former board president Michael Scott committed suicide when faced with an investigation of his misuse of school board funds.

The mayor's announced retirement has been followed by the departure of Duncan's successor, Ron Huberman. As the crisis deepens, both he and the mayor, it seems, suddenly want to spend more time with their families. So much for stability and strong leadership.. . .

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