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Mayoral Influence, New Regimes, and Public School Governance


by Michael W. Kirst — 2003

In recent years, a spate of cities—including New York, Boston, Chicago, and Cleveland—have shifted governance structures to give more control of their school systems to mayors. The hope was 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 must be understood within the broader context of a particular city, and the particular frustrations 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, ranging 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 effects (such as can be determined) of governance changes. While it is difficult to link these governance shifts to improved instructional practices or outcomes, many mayors are forging a new relationship with schools.


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This article originally appeared as NSSE Yearbook Vol 102. No. 1.


Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 105 Number 10, 2003, p. 196-218
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 18663, Date Accessed: 10/19/2017 12:34:34 PM

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