Bully or Bodyguard? The WSJ Looks at Mayors Who Take Over Schools.

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Alexander Flores
Till Mayor Tom Leppert decides to talk for himself about his thinking about maybe one day possibly taking over the Dallas Independent School District we'll see not sure for sure who knows, it's all one big guessing game. Which doesn't stop the Dallas mayor's name from appearing in this morning's Wall Street Journal story about cities taking over their school districts, a la New York, Boston, Chicago and D.C. Milwaukee's also thinking of taking charge of its district; but at least its mayor, Tom Barrett, talks about the what and the why.

The piece offers the pros and cons of mayoral control, which U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan is pushing for in Detroit and which critics loathe because it "can shut out dissent, especially from parents and teachers." DISD spokesman Jon Dahlander tells the WSJ why it's not likely to happen here: The DISD "includes 13 municipalities, most of which do not elect Dallas's mayor." But, perhaps it's an inevitablity:
"I would anticipate that over the next few years we will see a new wave" of switches to mayoral authority, says Kenneth Wong, director of Brown University's urban education policy program, who studies mayoral control of schools.
Bonus round: Another Dallas mayor appears in this morning's Journal -- Ron Kirk, of course, likely to be confirmed as U.S. trade representative today. But not without concerns from the paper's editorial board:
He said that as mayor of Dallas, Tex., he saw first-hand how trade benefits small businesses. But it's unclear how, or whether, he'd act on that insight. The U.S. needs strong trade leadership to forestall protectionist urges in a global downturn. If Messrs. Obama and Kirk don't provide that leadership, we're in for a rough economic ride.


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