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Improbable ScholarsThe Rebirth of a Great American School System and a Strategy for America’s Schools$
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David L. Kirp

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199987498

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199987498.001.0001

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Mother Teresa Meets Mayor Daley

Mother Teresa Meets Mayor Daley

Good Schools = Smart Politics

(p.117) 5 Mother Teresa Meets Mayor Daley
Improbable Scholars

David L. Kirp

Oxford University Press

In Union City, school policy and city politics are tightly intertwined in the person of Mayor Brian Stack. Stack has been the city's unquestioned leader since 2000, winning reelection by wide margins. Two years after being elected, he won the power to appoint the school board, and its members act in the long shadow he casts. They rubber-stamped his decision to name Sandy Sanger, a political comrade-in-arms, as superintendent in 2003. Wearing a second hat as state senator, he has secured well over a billion dollars from the state's coffers to build new schools, including the megalithic $180 million high school. There is considerable disagreement, both among academics and educators, about whether mayoral control of the schools is a good thing. In some locales putting the mayor in charge and making him accountable for the results works well, while in others it has been noisily controversial. In Union City mayoral control has been a blessing, at least to date, because it has secured the stability essential to an effective school system.

Keywords:   Mayor Brian Stack, Union City, school districts, school policy, education policy, city politics, Sandy Sanger, public school system

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