77th Annual Meeting

MAYORAL LEADERSHIP AND INVOLVEMENT IN EDUCATION

WHEREAS, mayors are increasing their interest and engagement in education; and

WHEREAS, cities are beginning to redefine their roles in education; and

WHEREAS, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan called for mayoral takeover of big-city school districts at The U.S. Conference of Mayors' National Forum on Education on March 31, 2009, saying mayoral control produces real progress in the sense of innovation and the stability and strong leadership needed to overhaul urban schools; and

WHEREAS, Education Secretary Arne Duncan has called for major reform in the No Child Left Behind Act including rigorous national academic standards, better data management systems, better student assessments, improved teacher quality and a less punitive focus on accountability for student achievement; and

WHEREAS, approximately 3 million students live in cities with formal mayoral control and over 50 million do not; and

WHEREAS, mayoral involvement includes both mayors with and without control of their school districts; and

WHEREAS, 6,000 of the country's 95,000 schools are labeled as needing restructuring or corrective action because of low test scores; and

WHEREAS, President Obama has called for many of the controversial initiatives that districts with mayoral control typically push heavily for such as charter schools, accountability based on rigorous testing standards, and merit pay for teachers; and

WHEREAS, Congress has provided $140 billion for education in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act requiring that drastic reforms are made to the education system throughout the nation; and

WHEREAS, urban districts turn to mayoral control following long periods of lagging achievement and dysfunction; and

WHEREAS, districts under mayoral control have shown the greatest academic improvements in low performing schools; and

WHEREAS, mayoral control has led to increased spending in support services in their district budgets; and

WHEREAS, mayoral engagement leads to new visions in education for a city's student population; and

WHEREAS, mayors use their bully pulpit to build civic capacity among stakeholders across government, non-profit, and business sectors to create education initiatives,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the United States Conference of Mayors urges state and local governments to encourage the engagement of mayors in education in both circumstances where there is mayoral control and informal mayoral engagement; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The U.S. Conference of Mayors recognizes and supports the rightful role of mayors to do what needs to be done to promote the interests of public school students and parents, and the schools, align the efforts of the city and the school system, and improve the lives, education outcomes and opportunities of the children who attend public schools; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The U.S. Conference of Mayors supports mayoral leadership and involvement in education that makes a positive difference in the quality of teaching and learning in the city's schools, whether through direct forms of involvement or informal means; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The U.S. Conference of Mayors fully supports a myriad of choices in selecting the level of mayoral leadership and involvement in education including utilization of the bully pulpit to build political support for education improvement that provides the impetus school districts need to speed reforms; fostering greater student achievement; providing greater visibility to important issues which forces decisions to be made; creating programs when needed; increasing public participation; working to enhance funding and resources; and setting new priorities when necessary.