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I post my sudden thoughts and second thoughts here from time to time -- usually having something to do with Philadelphia and governmental accountability, but occaisionally on something more (or less) interesting. Check out my Recent Writing for issues of the day and take a look at some more in-depth writing in Brett's Books. Or, view the Bulldog Budget, which represents a wonderfully visual way to conceive and account for how our government works (or doesn't work) for us.

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Most recently, I wrote
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Better Said Than Ed

We are told again and again that education will be THE issue of the 2015 mayoral campaign, but I would much rather hear candidates talk about something they can do something about.  Frankly, if education is what mayoral candidates are going to talk about, they might as well offer their Philadelphia weather platform.  Much as the joke goes about how people love to talk about the weather, but never do much about it, all of the candidates can talk all they want about education, but as mayor, they will have so very little to do to make change.

The mayor is not in charge of the schools and neither chooses the School Superintendent nor sets educational policy.  The mayor may wield influence, but leveraging a few extra dollars here or advocating for a few changes there only affects our children's education at the margins.  Every mayor in my lifetime has talked about his commitment to children or claimed the mantle of "education mayor," but our schools have stumbled from crisis to crisis and remain in need of so much improvement.  Worst of all, there is simply not a model for success that any Philadelphia mayor could copy in terms of achieving satisfying excellence for all students in any large urban school district in America.

So here is the deal I would love us to collectively strike.  Let us all -- candidates, media, and citizens -- agree that all mayoral candidates care deeply about Philadelphia children and that all will do whatever they can (given their very limited power with regard to schools) to improve educational outcomes.  Then, let's focus the attention in this important race on how the candidates will make the changes that provide the conditions under which children, families, and communities can have the city we deserve.