City schools and city politics: institutions and leadership in Pittsburgh, Boston, and St. Louis

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University Press of Kansas, 1999 - Education - 199 pages
Educational reform is one of the most critical issues facing our cities, but some cities are better at it than others. To explain why, this book relates education to politics, showing how the "whole village" can be mobilized to better educate tomorrow's citizens.

City Schools and City Politics is based on an eleven-city NSF study of civic capacity and urban education. As participants in that study, the authors conducted research in three rustbelt cities that have lost much of their tax base and have legacies of machine politics. They analyzed the ways in which government, business, and community leaders create, or fail to create, civic support for public education, focusing on why certain cities show greater initiative than others in addressing these problems.

The authors reveal that, of the cities examined. Pittsburgh has made the most strides in educational reform, followed by Boston. while St. Louis has consistently lagged behind Their observations show that cross-sectorial coalitions are essential for bringing about change; that organizational arrangements in the business community and their relationship to local government affect whether there is the capacity to address school reform; that leadership is critical in bringing about change: and that municipal institutions and culture influence a city's ability to take action.

Packed with empirical data and analysis. City Schools and City Politics demonstrates the citywide and long-term character of successful efforts to reform public schools, relating education to the priorities of municipal governments and describing the conditions under which reform becomes possible. It extends regime theory to public education and shows thateducation policy is inextricably linked with urban political life and is an issue of real concern to political science.

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Institutions and Leadership
Pittsburgh Boston and St Louis
A Fragile Balance

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About the author (1999)

Portz is an associate professor of political science at Northeastern University.

Stein is associate professor of political science at the University of Missouri.

Jones is coordinator of Community Initiative for the College of Arts and Sciences at the Univeristy of South Florida.