A modest proposal to fix the schools by Matt Miller First, Kill All the School Boards http://images.google.com/imgres?img...um=1&hl=en&rls=GGLD,GGLD:2004-39,GGLD:en&sa=N excerpt What of school boards? In an ideal world, we would scrap them?especially in big cities, where most poor children live. That?s the impulse behind a growing drive for mayoral control of schools. New York and Boston have used mayoral authority to sustain what are among the most far-reaching reform agendas in the country, including more-rigorous curricula and a focus on better teaching and school leadership. Of course, the chances of eliminating school boards anytime soon are nil. But we can at least recast and limit their role. In all of these efforts, we must understand one paradox: only by transcending local control can we create genuine autonomy for our schools. ?If you visit schools in many other parts of the world,? Marc Tucker says, ?you?re struck almost immediately ? by a sense of autonomy on the part of the school staff and principal that you don?t find in the United States.? Research in 46 countries by Ludger Woessmann of the University of Munich has shown that setting clear external standards while granting real discretion to schools in how to meet them is the most effective way to run a system. We need to give schools one set of national expectations, free educators and parents to collaborate locally in whatever ways work, and get everything else out of the way.