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What Ails the Governance of Public Education and What Can Be Done to Cure It?

March 22, 2013, 9:30am ET - 11:00am ET




Over the last 20 years, lagging achievement and disjointed governance of schools have led policymakers to explore alternative ways of organizing schools, like mayoral control, and to rethink district organization and the role of school boards and districts. The hope is to remove barriers to reform and to spur innovation and improvement. The debates around these issues are emblematic of the larger questions of education governance: is the system we have today well suited for 21st century educational needs? Or are there alternative approaches that would move us closer to building a high-quality school system for all children?

Professors Paul Manna and Patrick McGuinn will provide an overview of the education governance debate, drawing on the new book Education Governance for the Twenty-First Century: Overcoming the Structural Barriers to School Reform. Education experts Chester Finn and Cynthia Brown will discuss the chapters they contributed to this volume, and give their takes on the future of education governance. Finally, our distinguished panelists will discuss alternatives such as mayoral control, recovery districts, and the future of traditional school districts. The event will also feature the release of a new report, “Mayoral Governance and Student Achievement: How Mayor-led Districts Are Improving School and Student Performance,” by Kenneth Wong, which analyzes the impact of mayoral control on resource management and student achievement in 11 districts.

Please join the Center for American Progress and the Thomas B. Fordham Institute for a riveting discussion of mayoral control, charter schooling, “recovery” school districts, and other alternative governance structures.