Thursday, July 07, 2011

Mayoral Overdose

With the Board of Regents continuing to discuss the Achievement First Mayoral Academies proposal, it is worth noting that the entire scenario has only gotten weirder since the General Assembly stripped the Providence School Board (and only Providence's) of its authority to negotiate and sign contracts with the PTU. The Mayor's Office does that directly now. Also, the Mayor appoints the board.

We're heading toward a system where a future Mayor of Providence may inherit various levels of control of several competing school systems, each one with a set of shifting power relationships between the city, state, federal government, foundations and non-profits. Future mayors will have to juggle the PPSD, and a variety of Mayoral Academies, with each shrinking, growing, and lapsing into crisis as students and money shifts among them. This is similar to what's going on in different cities throughout the US, but with our own unique spin, since all the options are being piled onto the Mayor.

As far as I know, nobody has ever explicitly advanced an argument that this particular style of administration is a good idea, but it seems to be what we're going to end up with. I guess it is kind of like if Eva Moskowitz was elected Mayor of New York. And it the long run it is probably as big a threat to reformers plans as it is to the PPSD, since the obvious thing to do will be re-consolidate this into one system for the sake of efficiency.

And you have to wonder whether all this is a result of Ken Wong's influence.

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