Thursday, July 30, 2009

These are the guys Duncan wants to run the schools?

The Old Testament story has Abraham bargaining with God over the destruction of Sodom. God says he will not destroy the city if Abe can produce 50 righteous citizens. Abe gets him down to 10 but dares go no lower.

Arne Duncan has made a fetish out of the mayoral control issue. He's become the nation's leading advocate for top-down, unfettered control of public schools by big city mayors. He's even made mayoral control a benchmark for his success as Sec. of Education.
"At the end of my tenure, if only seven mayors are in control, I think I will have failed," Duncan said. (Teacher Magazine)
So I'm waiting for him to tell us what he plans to do about New Jersey, now that the mayors of Hoboken, Ridgefield, and Seacaucus have all been busted for things like money laundering and (ugh!) selling body parts. They join a long, long list of N.J. and other urban mayors currently in the slammer or on their way, including:
Passaic, NJ Mayor Samuel Rivera
Jersey City Mayor Jeremiah Healey
Bayonne, NJ Mayor Joseph Doria
Jackson MS Mayor Frank Melton
Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick
Birmingham, Al Mayor Larry Langford
Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon
Racine, WI Mayor Gary Becker
Gee, I hope I haven't left anyone out.

Hundreds of Jersey mayors, deputy mayors and other officials have gone to prison over the years. And they're just the ones who've been caught. It's actually hard to find a N.J. city without a record of corrupt mayors. Take Newark for instance, where according to the WSJ's Brad Parks:
You have to go back to 1962 in New Jersey’s largest city to find a mayor who completed his time in office and wasn’t later indicted for it. The current mayor, the ever-trendy Cory Booker, has positioned himself as a real reformer. Yet so had the former mayor, Sharpe James, when he came into office in 1986... But that still pales in comparison to Hugh Addonizio, who left the U.S. House of Representatives to reign over Newark City Hall from 1962-1970, in part because, as he was quoted as saying, “You can’t make much money as a Congressman, but as mayor you can make a million bucks.”
But don't worry Arne. I'm confident that if you search carefully, you can find more than 7 still running free. But a biblical warning--don't go any lower.

And New Jersey--please don't take this post personally. After all, I live in Chicago.


  1. That's right. Put them in charge of the schools. Lots of body parts there.

  2. You cannot disagree with something without positing the alternatives. Yes, there are a ton of rotten mayors. But at least there is some turnout for their elections. How about the turnout for school board elections? Its not as if there are no corrupt school boards. At least when the mayor is corrupt you tend to be paying attention.


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