Governance and Urban School Improvement: Lessons for New Jersey from Nine Cities

By analyzing the ups and downs of mayoral control of schools in nine
cities (including New York, Washington, D.C., Cleveland, and Boston),
this study aims to provide New Jersey policymakers with recommendations
as they transition from state control back to local governance in
Newark, Paterson, and Jersey City. It’s somewhat sobering, though, as
the analysts find no solid link between mayoral control and student
achievement. But that’s not the whole story. On the downside, mayoral
control is associated in many (though not all) places with diminished
parental and community involvement in education. On the other hand, it
corresponds to increased school funding, greater public commitment to
education, and enhanced stability in the district, as well as stronger
accountability and efficiency. More pluses, it would appear to us, than
minuses. Ultimately, however, analysts find none of the analyzed models
to be ideal, but several offer elements worth considering.

Ruth Moscovitch, Alan R. Sadovnik, Jason M. Barr,
Tara Davidson, Teresa L. Moore, Roslyn Powell, Paul L.Tractenberg, Eric
Wagman, and Peijia Zha, “Governance and Urban School Improvement: Lessons for New Jersey from Nine Cities,” (Newark, NJ: Institute on Education Law and Policy: Rutgers, August 2010).

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