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UPDATED: Arne Duncan Advocates Mayoral Takeover of Big-City Districts


Education Secretary Arne Duncan grew up in a school system dominated by mayoral control.

He's said he loses sleep at night over Detroit Public Schools.

And he's weighed in on New York City's governance structure, declaring that the city's public schools are best left in the mayor's hands.

Now, as if the education secretary doesn't have enough going on, he's wading even further—and more dramatically—into the thorny issue of local control and school governance by declaring that more big-city mayors need to take over school districts. And if the numbers don't rise, he said according to Libby Quaid's Associated Press story, he "will have failed as secretary."

UPDATED: Read Libby's latest, in-depth coverage of Duncan's statements and the reaction. This includes Duncan's expanded pledge to actually go to cities and lobby on behalf of mayoral control.

This is tough talk from a guy who is now the very-publicized face of public education—at least on the federal level. And local and state officials don't usually appreciate comments from federal officials about how to govern local school districts. This is sure to irritate some of Duncan's base of support—like teachers' unions, the Council of Great City Schools, and the school boards association.

In fact, on Saturday, he gives a keynote at the National School Boards Association conference in San Diego. Does he dare to face that crowd and stake his legacy as education secretary on increasing mayoral control?


I attended the German Public School system in 1952-1958 and learned discipline and respect for my teachers and grandparents. I never knew my father or my mother until I was 14 years old.
I did learn that students in Germany had choices in how they could become successful in learning by either becoming an apprentice in a trade like the automotive industry in which you could rise from the assembly line all the way in becoming the CEO of that Company. They did not hire Coolege Grads who did not understand the working man or women on the assembly line. Take a look at Germany's Mangement structure it starts with hands on then you move up based on performence. The United States does just the opposite, it is college degree and who you know.

Arne Duncan needs to visit the apprentice ship concept because Germany and it's publis schools cannot afford drop outs with no job experience.

In this country we consider lawn mowing, dog grooming, pool cleaning etc an apprentice ship program.

Carpenter, Plumber, AC technician, Farmer, auto mechanic are true skills that an aprrentice has in order to be succesfull in life and family.

In put from family is paramount in agerman public schools, this a huge piecs missing in our schools even today.

Mayors don't know a thing about Public Schools they are politicians and will always be politicians assigning that task to a relative for his or her job security.

I hope you don't fail as others have with promises made. Don't let mayors run our public schools.


Perhaps Diane Ravitch might like to append this to her recent blog re Arne Duncan....

Is Arne Duncan Michael Bloomberg in drag?

Or as I commented in an email to [email protected] "What, democracy and public schools don't mix? Today's report that you propose big-city mayors take over the urban public schools was not just troubling, but frightening. Have you just thrown up your hands and said to the citizens "No You Can't?"

Hasn't Detroit had some recent mayoral trouble as well? Seems like he went to jail, something about murder and a prostitute.

President Obama must think the votes of public school teachers won't be needed to win in 2012.

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