Cover Story

The Nation’s Most Ambitious Effort to Fix Failed Schools

BY John Buntin

What happens in Memphis will reveal the power -- and limits -- of education reform.



San Jose Election Tests Political Risk of Cutting Pensions

The California city’s November election will shed light on whether Democrats can risk the political fallout of cutting a prized union benefit to protect basic city services. BY

Beyond the Bushes: Political Dynasties in State and Local Government

American politics is a forest filled with intricate family trees, and many offices seem almost hereditary. BY
Infrastructure & Environment

Despite Their Carbon Rebellion, States Prepare for the Worst

While more than a dozen states are fighting the new federal rules to reduce carbon emissions, many officials fear that ignoring them would be far worse. BY

The Driver Behind Public Transit’s Transformation in Atlanta

Keith Parker took over one of the most beleaguered and least loved transit systems in America -- and almost instantly reversed its course. BY



Outsiders Add Money and Negativity to State and Local Elections

National groups are realizing that the best way to influence policy isn't necessarily in gridlocked Washington anymore. BY
Health & Human Services

Paul Ryan’s Anti-Poverty Plan Has Already Been Tested

Nebraska tried something similar to Paul Ryan’s proposal for fighting poverty for a decade. There are lessons to be learned. BY
Politics & Elections

Is Walking Actually an Effective Political Statement?

When a North Carolina mayor walked 273 miles to Washington, D.C., this summer, he was just the latest in a long line of politicians to take an attention-seeking stroll. BY
Management & Labor

Government Gives Gas Stations Some Competition

In an effort to offer residents cheaper fuel, Somerset, Ky., opened what’s likely the nation’s first city-run retail gas station this summer. BY
Grid First Ten

Goodbye Gayborhood?

As gay Americans gained more acceptance and integrated themselves throughout cities over the past decade, a sociologist argues they've also lost some of their community and history. BY
Washington Watch

Paul Ryan Declares War on the War on Poverty

The Wisconsin Congressman's bold anti-poverty plan picks battles with conservatives and liberals, reducing its chances of passage. BY
Politics & Elections

Bye, Bye GOP Mayors?

Republican mayors are rare in America’s big cities today. The few surviving ones have tips for getting into and staying in office. BY
Health & Human Services

Mental Health Ruling Could Reverberate through States

About half of states admit to holding mentally ill patients in emergency rooms until beds become available in mental health facilities -- a practice Washington state ruled unconstitutional. BY
Infrastructure & Environment

To Prevent Long Power Outages, Communities Look to Microgrids

As severe weather becomes more common, microgrids are gaining popularity as a way to keep the power on at critical facilities during widespread blackouts. BY
Transportation & Infrastructure

The Economic Case for Free Bridges and Roads

It’s easy for officials to forget that the price of public goods should be kept low in order to increase use and promote economic growth. BY
Urban Notebook

FHA Policies Discourage Density

At a time when people are flocking to cities, federal policies still heavily promote single-family homes and make it harder for people to buy condos. BY


Politics & Elections

Voter Turnout Plummeting in Local Elections

Voter turnout for local elections has historically lagged but is getting worse, prompting officials to explore new ways to get people to the polls. BY
Smart Management

Why Schools Resist Consolidating

There are financial and educational benefits to merging small school districts, yet it's almost always a hard sell. BY
On Leadership

Lessons from the Grateful Dead on Replacing Workers with Technology

If managers don't know when technology should replace people, they can destroy the product they're trying to create. BY
Tech Talk

States Approach Federal Data Breach Law with Caution

With 47 different state laws on what companies are supposed to do when they become victims of cyberattack, is it time for federal legislation? BY
Public Money

Seattle Adopts an Old Way to Pay for New Parks

While the city's parks no longer have to compete with police and other essential services for funding, this model has its drawbacks. BY
Infrastructure & Environment

What's Love Got to Do with Bridge Safety?

What seems like a simple romantic gesture is actually a major maintenance issue for bridges. BY

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