The Seattle Weekly has a good story that has a startling ending.
Quite apart from specific policy agendas, there’s been an idea circulating in big cities around the country that mayoral control—or even state control—will solve public education’s ills. In the last two decades, roughly 20 school districts have come under some mayoral oversight, according to a 2014 report on the subject by the National School Boards Association’s Center for Public Education. It’s ironic, the report goes on to note, since a century ago, the country moved away from mayoral control of school districts due to corruption and cronyism.
Pettigrew says this:
Pettigrew mentions the persistent achievement gap between whites and students of color, which the south Seattle Democrat says is particularly prevalent in his district. “Let’s just see what happens,” he says, if we try something different.
What, throw something at the wall and see if it sticks? He STILL has not explained any connection between outcomes for students of color and mayoral control. Just rearranging the chairs will not in itself create change. And where's that all-important data?
Oddly, though, Pettigrew says he’s not familiar or particularly interested in how this idea has played out in other cities. The results are mixed. “Researchers are divided on the question of whether or not it has produced higher student achievement,” concludes the Center for Public Education report, entitled “Toward collaboration, not a coup.” “Almost all agree on one negative consequence, however. These researchers observed that when mayors take charge of public schools, the role of parents and the community, especially among minority groups, can be marginalized.”
That surprising ending?
He (Pettigrew) says he and Rep. Sharon Tomiko Santos are working on a new proposal stemming from their feeling that the Seattle School District is too big to manage effectively. Their solution: splitting it in two.
Now, that’s an idea that truly seems to come out of the blue, and it raises a million questions. What would the boundaries be? Would it create better-off and worse-off districts? Would they share resources?
And, perhaps most importantly, how would the public feel about that?
I'll have to ask Rep Tomiko-Santos about this idea; I have never heard her mention it. But split in two? Uh oh.