While the research on mayoral control of schools is largely inconclusive, anecdotal evidence suggests that struggling districts may benefit from moving from elected school boards to ones appointed by mayors, contends a report.
The St. Louis-based Show-Me Institute, a think tank that favors market-based public policies, commissioned the study from Frederick M. Hess, the director of education policy at the Washington-based American Enterprise Institute. In the report, Mr. Hess writes that few studies link district governance to student performance, but the experiences of the Boston, Chicago, and New York City public schools show “mayoral control can work, but only if it is sensibly designed and a strong mayor is actively en-gaged in improving the schools.”
The report comes as Missouri’s state school board is considering a plan to put a school board jointly appointed by state and local officials in charge of the 34,000-student St. Louis district.
A version of this article appeared in the February 14, 2007 edition of Education Week