Dominic Massa / Eyewitness News
Hailing his support for education reform in New Orleans, Newsweek calls Mayor Mitch Landrieu one of the five most innovative mayors in America, in a Dec. 24 issue that also singles out the mayors of New York, Chicago, Kansas City and Oklahoma City.
The selections were made by Newsweek/TheDailyBeast.com staffers and Stephen Goldsmith and Jayson White of the Innovations in American Government Program at Harvard's Kennedy School.
Click here for the Newsweek article.
'The Obama administration and Congress could learn a lot from the bold pragmatism of these urban innovators,' says Newsweek in its introduction.
In beginning with Landrieu, the magazine does admit that the mayor, like most urban leaders, has little control over the school system or influence on education policy.
But Newsweek calls Landrieu a champion of charter schools and 'other changes that would be considered politically difficult in most municipalities.'
The magazine points out that decades of school system mismanagement, followed by the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, did little to help local public schools or their national reputation.
'But now one of America's worst-performing school districts has been transformed, and the pace of improvement is unprecedented. That's because under Mayor Mitch Landrieu, the Crescent City has aggressively embraced education reform,' writes Newsweek.
The magazine mentions Landrieu's support for reform candidates, such as newcomers Nolan Marshall Jr. and Sarah Usdin, who won seats on the Orleans Parish School Board in November, and his work to raise money from private donors and FEMA, like the previous city administration, to rebuild and reform schools.
In the area of public safety, Newsweek singles out New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg for reducing that city's violent crime rate. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Kansas City Mayor Sly James are credited with advances in technology and 'entrepreneurial infrastructure' in their respective cities.
Oklahoma City's Mayor Mick Cornett is hailed for improving that area's quality of life, with new sports and performance art venues and entertainment district that the magazine says transformed the city's 'inner core.'