Magazine article District Administration

Urban Mayors Try Collaborating. (Update: Education News from Schools, Businesses, Research and Government Agencies)

Magazine article District Administration

Urban Mayors Try Collaborating. (Update: Education News from Schools, Businesses, Research and Government Agencies)

Article excerpt

Let's face it. Some school administrators equate mayoral involvement in education with hostile takeovers. Others believe mayors are the supreme finger-pointers. But a few urban mayors are shattering these stereotypes. They've tapped into a new game-collaboration.

In New Haven, Conn., Superintendent Reginald Mayo credits the mayor for pulling off a $1.2 million school construction program. Mayor Michael Coleman of Columbus, Ohio, has everyone talking about the achievement gap.

This breed of mayors recognizes the link between quality of life and local schools. "The fate of our city depends on the education of our children," says Mayor Tony Benavides of Lansing, Mich. Such slogans are not empty campaign rhetoric. These mayors are committing time and resources to education.

Coleman, Benavides and New Haven Mayor John DeStefano participate in the National League of Cities Municipal Leadership in Education project, which aims to improve the quality of K-12 education in urban communities via technical assistance including site visits, annual meetings and action plans. Another resource for municipal go-getters is the U.S.

Conference of Mayors, which provides mayors with guidance and support on issues ranging from charter schools to No Child Left Behind legislation.

Coleman's pet project is the Cap City Kids after-school program. The city developed standards focused on academics, nutrition and drug prevention; and Coleman established the Mayor's Charitable Trust to help fund it. …

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