May 25, 2024


Technology and Age

Boston: Mayoral Control Is the Wrong Answer

Boston: Mayoral Control Is the Wrong Answer

Retired teacher Christine Langhoff calls out the editorial board of The Boston Globe, which advocates for mayoral control of the schools, despite the wishes of the citizenry. Langhoff is right. Mayoral control is undemocratic, and it does not have a record of success. The mayor is not an educator. She or he may stack the leadership of the school system with cronies or—best case scenario—clueless business-school graduates. Mayoral control was tried and failed in Detroit and Chicago. New York City has had mayoral control since 2002 and that political arrangement has increased the number of charter schools, closed scores of schools, destabilized neighborhoods, and produced no notable improvements.

Langhoff writes:

Last year, 80% of Boston voters approved an elected school committee (a campaign that owes much of its organizing to a presence on Twitter, by the way). Now the process is underway, as the state would have to approve such a move.

This morning, the Boston Globe has published a disgusting editorial, calling for the abolition of any school board in the capital city. Reed Hastings would be proud. Who cares what citizens want, when the billionaires hellbent on privatization want something else?

There are certainly problems with the city’s current school governance system, in which the mayor appoints all members of the seven-person school committee. But if the city is to overhaul school governance, the way forward shouldn’t be to switch to a popularly elected school committee — an antiquated way of managing schools in the 21st century. Instead, Boston should get rid of the body and centralize control of the schools in the mayor’s office.” (Boston Globe)

And while the Supreme Court looks to originalism to undermine our rights, The Globe (or more likely the Barr Foundation, to whom the newspaper of record outsources its education coverage) would throw out centuries of history of governing public schools in Massachusetts:

Ending a school committee may seem radical, since local school board elections are so ingrained in American tradition. But the local school board, and its considerable power over the education of children in a geographic area, is a particularly North American phenomenon, and something of an accident of history. The colony of Massachusetts required towns to establish and pay for schools in 1647, in a law known as the Old Deluder Satan Act, and local control of schools — and local responsibility for funding them — has endured since.” (Boston Globe)

Funny, I doubt the same people would call for dissolving all school boards across the state, especially not in those wealthy towns where these writers likely live, and whose elected school boards they serve on.