Control freak

Mayoral control of schools is surely no silver bullet, but in the case of Baltimore, where Mayor Sheila Dixon is, according to the Baltimore Sun, "floating the idea" of taking over the schools, it would be a leaden musket ball. The city's relatively new education CEO, Andres Alonso, is quickly making big changes; he's shifted authority away from the district's central office, for example, and has given greater responsibility to principals. Baltimore's entrenched bureaucrats don't like Alonso's style, and it seems they've communicated their distaste to Dixon. She recently told a Sun columnist about the CEO, "You can't come in and change everything." Imagine wanting to take charge of the schools in one's city in order to retard the pace of change! In June, Dixon brazenly criticized Alonso on a radio show: "I cautioned him not to move so quickly in some areas." But quick movement to reform broken classrooms is, in fact, exactly what Baltimore needs--far more than it needs mayoral control.

"Dixon Eyes Bid to Run Schools," by Liz Bowie, Baltimore Sun, July 27, 2008

"Shift Control of Schools? Why Now?," by Jean Marbella, Baltimore Sun, July 29, 2008