Remember Education Secretary Arne Duncan’s remarks, reported by the Associated Press last spring, that he will have “failed as secretary” if the number of mayorally controlled school systems didn’t increase on his watch?
At the time, those were fightin’ words to the National School Boards Association, which issued this statement.
Now it seems the secretary and the school boards association have made some sort of amends. Today, NSBA released this article by the secretary that appears in the October issue of its American School Board Journal.
The headline, “The Importance of Board and Mayor Partnerships,” suggests that the secretary has softened his stance on what has been his preferred form of governance in struggling urban districts. Reading the piece, though, you’ll definitely see some tough love for school boards. Here’s one such tidbit: “Yet if speculation about the obsolescence of elected school boards is exaggerated, it is also the case that boards cannot continue to blindly contend that they are simply misunderstood institutions who are the ultimate arbiters of participatory, grassroots democracy. The reality is more complicated--and surprising.”
Check out NSBA’s press release promoting the secretary’s article, which certainly focuses on the more collaborative points.
Anne Bryant, the executive director of NSBA, told me recently that the press had mistakenly quoted the secretary “over and over” on the whole mayoral control issue and that his article would help clear up the matter.
A version of this news article first appeared in the District Dossier blog.