Observations and musings on Jacksonville Politics

Should the Mayor take over Duval Public Schools?

Before the idea is dismissed as out of hand, bear in mind that one of the top issues Jacksonville voters regularly bring up to the Mayor and the City Council is public education—even though neither party has any control over it.  This article appeared in The Wall Street Journal on Thursday:

More U.S. cities are considering scrapping a longstanding tradition in American education, the elected school board, and opting to let mayors rule over the classroom.

Dallas and Milwaukee are currently mulling mayoral control of the city’s schools, and Detroit is under pressure to try it — for the second time. A dozen major school systems, including New York, Boston, Chicago and Washington, D.C., already have a form of mayoral control.

Advocates say the structure, in which mayors generally appoint school boards and have the power to pick superintendents, enables tough-minded reforms by promoting stable leadership and accountability. Giving the idea more currency, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, until recently the Chicago schools chief, is a fan and product of mayoral control. And, this week, President Barack Obama promoted some controversial initiatives that have been pushed heavily in districts with mayoral control: charter schools, merit pay for teachers, and accountability, based on rigorous testing standards.

Read the article in its entirety here.


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