In 2002 New York City's public schools were placed under the control of the city's Mayor, Michael Bloomberg .
Since Milwaukee's Mayor Tom Barrett, Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle and the Metropolitan Milwaukee Chamber of Commerce (MMAC) have proposed that Milwaukee's school board be dissolved and governed by the mayor it's worth examining New York's results.
Diane Ravitch, a professor of education at New York University and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and the Hoover Institution, has documented that in New York City mayoral control has not led to increased test scores or a reduction in the racial achievement gap.
...New York City students made no statistically significant gains between 2003 and 2007 in fourth-grade reading, eighth-grade reading, or eighth-grade math. There were no significant gains for black students, white students, Hispanic students, Asian students, or lower-income students. New York City was the only city (of eleven tested) where eighth-grade reading scores declined for black, Hispanic, and lower-income students, and the achievement gap grew. Only in fourth-grade math did city students make statistically significant gains.
The school system needs checks and balances. It needs a regular, independent audit of graduation rates and test scores. It needs a leadership in which education decisions are made by educators. Such changes won't solve all of our schools' problems, but they will end the pointless turmoil of the past five years (of mayoral control) , provide honest information about academic progress, and reestablish the role of the public in public education.
The entire Ravitch letter is linked here.