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City Mayors examines education issues and policies affecting children and adults in urban areas. More

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Urban education
City Mayors examines education issues and policies affecting children and adults in urban areas

US mayors look to education
in response to school violence

16 April 2014: The 16-year-old boy who on 9 April 2014 stabbed and slashed 21 of his fellow students in a school near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, will be tried as an adult. Law enforcement officials have no choice; the law requires the young offender to be accorded adult status. The response to repeated incidents of school violence in the United States over the past 20 years has led to ‘hard’ solutions, such as reducing the age at which youth must be tried as adults; posting police officers at schools; expanding the death penalty to juveniles; and making bullying a crime. Simultaneously, with much less fanfare, another type of response has been growing quietly. Public schools in at least 30 states now promote ‘character education’ as an anecdote to safety concerns, as well as troubling issues like teen pregnancy, truancy, and poor academic performance. MORE

US state school teachers face
public performance scrutiny

28 August 2012: The new school year is beginning in the United States, and millions of public (state) school students and their teachers are heading back to their classrooms. Students can look forward to having their progress tracked by report cards, and, for the first time, so can many teachers. Teacher evaluations are moving beyond the perfunctory “thumbs-up” or “thumbs-down” to more detailed - and more public - performance ratings tied to student performance. More

Discipline and civil rights
in American state schools

2 November 2011: Discipline may be necessary for ensuring responsible student behavior, but “the application of discipline is unfair and unequal” in American state schools. Moreover, many student disciplinary practices employed by local state school systems may result in violations of US Civil Rights Law. Those are the findings of Discipline Policies, Successful Schools, and Racial Justice, a report by Dan Losen of The Civil Rights Project of the University of California at Los Angeles. More

College degrees are not the
only pathways to prosperity

17 September 2011: The last month of summer 2011 in the United States brought us a New York Times poll showing that New Yorkers remain extremely dissatisfied with their public school system despite years of reform under Mayor Michael Bloomberg; Republican presidential candidates debating the cost of a college education, sparked by conservative Texas Governor Rick Perry’s plan to offer affordable degrees; Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel under fire from both average citizens and teachers’ unions for proposing to raise property taxes to pay for city school improvements; and the US Conference of Mayors passing a resolution urging the federal government to maintain its current level of financial support for adult education and training. More

Washington DC named as
America’s most literate city

12 January 2011: The US capital Washington DC has been named as America’s most literate city. A study by Dr Jack Miller, President of the Central Connecticut State University, measures culture and reading resources in America’s largest cities. This study focuses on six key indicators of literacy: newspaper circulation, number of bookstores, library resources, periodical publishing resources, educational attainment, and Internet resources. More

Obama creates competition
to improve public schools

2 July 2010: When only two states – Delaware and Tennessee – were awarded funding in the first round of Race to the Top education funding, most US mayors were undaunted. “We will never give up,” former Tulsa, Oklahoma, Mayor Kathy Taylor said of her state’s initial failure. “We will be competitive in the second round.” More

US education needs to prepare
for 2042 demographic time bomb

11 May 2009: Attention to education, and its importance, has been made the subject of a renewed and sharper focus following President Obama’s call for reform and the announcement of a new program of advancement. The President realizes the stakes are high. The public might be more willing to see this goal as being as important as their job prospects if he had also made clear that the education problems facing the country coincide with its demographic time bomb due to detonate by 2042. More

American mayors welcome military
schools into poorer neighborhoods

3 June, 2008: A little-known occurrence in public education in American cities is the rise of military schools. These schools generally operate as a partnership between the local school district and the US Department of Defense. They target poor, minority students between the ages of 10 and 18, especially African-Americans, and offer academic instruction and athletic activities within a framework of military discipline. More

Denver’s pre-kindergarten programme
set up to benefit the whole community

16 March 2008: Mayor John Hickenlooper of Denver launched in 2007 a pre-k (pre-kindergarten) stipend programme aimed not only at improving Denver's education system but also at benefiting the city as a whole. In 2003, Hickenlooper campaigned with the rallying cry: "Because all kids deserve an equal start in life." Once elected, he delivered on the promise by applying his leadership talents and political capital to improving childhood education. More

US state schools still censor
educational reading material

24 November 2007: In September 2007, Anchorage (Alaska) Mayor Mark Begich read aloud at a public forum from The Chocolate War, a novel for young adults about a boy who is bullied and beaten in school. Since its publication in 1974, The Chocolate War has been banned by public school systems in dozens of US cities because it contains obscenities. It is one of many books that have been prohibited from classroom use because of objections over their content. More

Racially diverse schools harder
to attain after US court decision

8 July 2007: For over 50 years, the US Supreme Court consistently ruled that federal, state, and local governments had the right to create a racial balance between white and minority students in public schools. The Supreme Court’s long-standing support of government-sponsored public school integration essentially ended in June 2007. By a 5-4 vote, the Court held that public schools could not, in effect, articulate numerical goals, or quotas, for ‘racial balancing’ and use these as the basis for assigning or transferring children to schools. More

Schools could save money and raise
educational standards by going green

10 February 2007: US cities signed up for climate change action, already having a robust and challenging relationship with school district boards in their areas, will be interested in the late 2006 report on the costs and impact on educational performance of sustainable buildings. More

US mayors are divided about
merits of controlling schools

2 February 2007: Public school systems in the United States are traditionally run by elected Boards of Education, commonly known as school boards. Generally, a school board sets educational policy for a school system and hires a superintendent to administer that policy. In American suburbs, students in public schools generally perform well academically, and the effectiveness of the traditional superintendent-school board approach to governance is not questioned. However, in American cities, where children in public schools often fail to read and do math at basic levels, mayors increasingly seek control of schools. More

American public schools are increasingly
providing a wide range of social services

22 July 2006: In 2006, the California Legislature approved a US$55.1 billion budget for the state’s public schools. This represented a record increase of $5.1 billion over the previous year’s state education budget. Taxpayers in California supported the record spending increase because it promised to restore music, art, and physical education programs; hire guidance counselors; expand teacher recruitment and preschool programs; and buy new textbooks. These promises were fulfilled – but less than half of the spending increase was devoted to them. Most of the money paid for new or expanded social services: programs to discourage gang membership, treat AIDS, prevent cigarette smoking, provide childcare to teenage mothers, and the like. More

Some 100 million children
without regular education

More of the world’s children are going to school than ever before, but there are still more than 100 million children who are not receiving regular education and many drop out before grade 5 of primary school or graduate without mastering even a minimum set of cognitive skills. In one-third of countries, for example, less than 75 per cent of students reach grade 5. National and international assessments also show that performance levels are very weak in low- and middle-income countries and among disadvantaged groups in some industrialized nations. More

No magic solution available for
improved education in US cities

Mayoral takeovers are a relatively fresh phenomenon in the recent spate of takeovers of city schools in the US. The first big city example was the 1991 takeover in Boston. In 1995, Chicago’s mayor was awarded appointment powers over the City School District. However, It can safely be said that changes of the order required to turn around urban schools requires sustained long-term efforts that are not circumscribed by term-limited mayors. More

Ekaterinburg Mayor believes investing
in libraries gives city competitive edge

In Russia, the overall problem of the libraries lies in their ownership – federal, state and municipal. This means that they are inevitably under-funded. Staff are poorly paid and books and periodicals are not replenished regularly. During the transition of the 1990s, those cities whose municipalities had the foresight to keep this crucial aspect of culture alive – realising that it was also an economic advantage – have benefited greatly. They are now becoming centres of education, and of research and development, with correspondingly growing incomes. More

The European Summer University caters
for the requirements of local government

The European Summer University (ESU) held annually in Birmingham, England’s second largest city, is a three-week programme, which offers, in addition to intensive English-language courses, specialist classes in a variety of urban subjects. Students have the option of two or three-week combined study programmes. More

New York City schools to receive
$51 million from Gates Foundation

New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Microsoft boss Bill Gates announced a $51.2 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to support schools in New York City. The grant will support the creation of 67 new small, challenging high schools citywide. The creation of these schools aims to make it possible for more students to receive the high quality education necessary for success in today’s demanding economy. More

Little behavioural difference between
urban and suburban teenagers in the US
For the last several decades American middle-class families have been fleeing from the US cities to the country's suburbs, in part because many parents see the suburbs, and suburban public schools in particular, as refuges from the disorder and social collapse they see as endemic to America's urban school districts. Parents believe that suburban public schools provide children with safer, more orderly, and more wholesome environments than their urban counterparts. A new report by the Manhattan Institute, a New York-based conservative think tank, finds that those perceptions are unfounded. More

Mayor Bloomberg puts Snapple
into every New York City school
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that the Snapple Beverage Group, a division of Cadbury-Schweppes, had become New York City’s first official corporate marketing partner under the City’s plan to generate revenue by centralizing New York’s marketing assets and intellectual properties. Snapple has entered into a five-year vending and marketing agreement with the City of New York. The deal, which will be implemented in phases, guarantees the City $106 million in cash and $60 million in marketing and promotional value. Snapple won the contract against competition from Coca-Cola and PepsiCo. More

World Mayor 2023