The Education Mayor

Improving America's Schools

Kenneth K. Wong, Francis X. Shen, Dorothea Anagnostopoulos, and Stacey Rutledge

"The most ambitious study ever of the impact of mayoral education control upon schools and children. Sure to be controversial because of its specific positive findings."
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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.

Table of Contents


Introduction: Mayoral Governance in Education Gains Prominence

1. The Historical and Political Context of Integrated Governance

2. The New Style Education Mayors

3. Evaluating the Effects of Mayoral Control

4. Integrated Governance as a Strategy to Improve School Performance

5. Considering the Gap between High- and Low- Performing Schools

6. Accountability and Urban High Schools: The Challenge of Improving Instructional Practices

7. Toward Strategic Deployment of Resources

8. The Political Dynamics of Building Public Support for Education

9. Mayorally Governed School Districts as Laboratories of Democracy

Appendix: Achievement Analysis Methodology and Additional Findings for Chapter Four





"The most ambitious study ever of the impact of mayoral education control upon schools and children. Sure to be controversial because of its specific positive findings."—Michael Kirst, professor emeritus, Stanford Institute for Higher Education Research, Stanford University

"The most comprehensive, rigorous, and authoritative examination to date of a reform strategy that has occasioned heated debate in cities from New York to Los Angeles. This volume is essential reading for those parents, practitioners, and policymakers serious about improving urban schools."—Frederick M. Hess, director of education policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute and author of Spinning Wheels: The Politics of Urban School Reform

"This empirically based, highly readable and desperately needed work will inform the discourse about the future of school reform. Every school politics watcher, academic, journalist, and activist should read this book."—Wilbur Rich, professor of political science, Wellesley College

"This excellent book provides evidence-rich answers to the questions of what happens to students, teachers, schools and communities when mayors take control of—and responsibility for—education in their cities. It will and should inform policymaking now and well into the future."—Patrick J. Wolf, 21st Century Chair in School Choice, University of Arkansas


Supplemental Materials


About the Author

Kenneth K. Wong is Walter and Leonore Annenberg Professor in Education Policy and director of the Urban Education Policy Program at Brown University. He is the author of Funding Public Schools: Politics and Policy and coauthor of Successful Schools and Educational Accountability.

Francis X. Shen is a licensed attorney and a doctoral fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Dorothea Anagnostopoulos is an assistant professor of teacher education at Michigan State University.

Stacey A. Rutledge is an assistant professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at Florida State University.

272 pp., 6 x 9

Oct 2007

272 pp., 6 x 9

ISBN: 978-1-58901-179-3
Oct 2007

272 pp.

ISBN: 978-1-58901-436-7
Oct 2007

American Governance and Public Policy series
Gerard W. Boychuk, Karen Mossberger, and Mark C. Rom, Series Editors

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