St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman is serving as principal for the day at Maxfield Elementary School today.
How will kids sent to the principal’s office today explain that to their parents?
It’s a one-day only gig, Coleman’s staff says, (although he did a similar stint at Central High School a few months ago) and not the start of a mayoral takeover of the school system.
I say that only 90 percent in jest, because in 2010 then-Gov. Tim Pawlenty actually suggested that the mayors of St. Paul and Minneapolis take over the two cities’ school districts.
Pawlenty said in his state of the state speech that year:
“Persistently low achieving schools need new leadership, new authority, and new teachers hired and assigned based on performance, not seniority. These changes occur most frequently when mayors are in control of a large urban school districts or when alternative school models are used.”
At the time, Coleman said:
“It’s worth having the discussion. It’s a potential piece of the recipe of a successful school system, but it is only one part of an equation.”
But nothing more has come of it in the intervening two years.
Coleman’s spokesperson Joe Campbell said yesterday:
“The mayor continues to be open to any serious discussion that helps close the achievement gap in St Paul schools. He hasn’t seen any real discussion from the Republicans in the Legislature, so it’s hard to say for certain, but I think it’s fair to say that he still maintains a very similar opinion … .”