Who's the Boss?

Several of Ohio's Big 8 cities elected new mayors last week, but none with more radical school reform ideas than Cincinnati's Mark Mallory. Last February, while serving as a state senator, Mallory proposed a plan to allow Cincinnati's mayor not only to appoint the city's superintendent, but also to name all the school board members. He was, in fact, attempting to make the mayor of Cincinnati that city's "education czar." Mayoral control of the schools is something that has met with mixed results in big cities like New York, Chicago, Boston, and Cleveland. Mallory rescinded his bill when the Cincinnati Public Schools stepped up to the challenge and reduced the district's drop-out rate and earned a state rating of Continuous Improvement. Early in his campaign for mayor, Mallory urged mayoral control of the district, and argued "under my plan, everyone in the city will know who to hold responsible for the success or failure of the schools." Late in the campaign, however, and now as mayor-elect, Mallory has distanced himself from the notion of a mayoral takeover of schools. But, it will be interesting to see if the mayor-elect sits quietly in Town Hall should the recent successes of the Cincinnati Public Schools prove fleeting.

"Mayoral hopefuls want to work with schools," Jennifer Mrozowski, Cincinnati Enquirer, November 2, 2005

"SB46 School District Control," State Senator Mark Mallory, February 3, 2005

"Mark Mallory for Cincinnati: On the Issues - Focusing on Education."