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With growing national rancor over education, US mayors have the opportunity to lead

July 17, 2017
Bart Peterson, former Indianapolis mayor
The Hill

The education policy discourse has grown increasingly toxic in Washington, exposing deepening divides over issues ranging from K-12 funding to school choice.

This time of federal deadlock offers a new reminder that our nation’s mayors must take greater ownership of education.

Mayors have stepped out on other prominent issues recently where the federal government has balked, most notably on climate change. Now they should leverage their unique position as the leaders closest to the people to move past the partisan federal debates on education and drive change in their communities’ K-12 systems.

Mayors are well-positioned because their proximity to the most important decisionmakers — those who lead local school districts — allows them to craft customized policy solutions that fit the local environment and build the local implementation strategies that federal policy changes so often lack.

And, of course, states, counties, and cities — not the federal government — control 90 percent of our country’s education spending.

SEE Preschool Matters Today blog on cities leading preK innovation