Catalyst for Cleveland Schools: Mayors in Charge

The May/June 2001 edition of Catalyst for Cleveland Schools is out and it focuses on the effectiveness of mayors in reforming education, with a close look at four cities - Cleveland, Chicago, Boston, and Detroit. In Cleveland, Mayor Michael R. White has distinguished himself by having a lot of power but rarely showing it, more often allowing school chief Barbara Byrd-Bennett to lead. Chicago's Mayor Richard Daley, on the other hand, makes a point of being in control (as was manifest in his recent dismissal of school chief Paul Vallas). In Boston, Thomas Menino asked to be held responsible for the schools: "If I fail to bring about these specific reforms by the year 2001," he said a few years ago, "then judge me harshly." Of these four cities, in fact, only Detroit has a mayor who has displayed scant interest in becoming involved in education. There, Dennis Archer has ceded much of his power to school superintendent Kenneth Burnley. Other topics covered in this issue of Catalyst include initiatives to help Cleveland's worst-performing schools; the effects of restructuring a school on student behavior; and the debate over Maryland's attempt to sanction (and in some case outsource the management of) poorly performing public schools. Copies can be obtained on the web at http://www.catalyst-cleveland.org or by calling (216) 623-6320.

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