Prince George’s County, Maryland, will become the first county in the nation where the county executive controls the schools.

The executive will appoint the schools’ superintendent and several board members.

No doubt the Maryland legislature was impressed by the success of mayoral control in Chicago and Cleveland. Or was it Néw York City, where Mayor Bloomberg doubled the budget without narrowing the achievement gap and was able to raise the graduation rate to 62%, about the same as Philadelphia and Chicago.

“According to the National Association of Counties (NACo), Prince George’s County—which lies on the eastern border of Washington, D.C, and is home to nearly 900,000 people and 125,000 students who attend the county’s schools—is the first county in the United States where the executive has that level of control over a formerly autonomous school district. It is similar to some cities, such as Philadelphia, where the mayor appoints school board members.”

The linked article cites Philadelphia as an example of mayoral control–by which they mean a suspension of democracy-but Philadelphia has been controlled by the state for more than a decade and is on the brink of fiscal and educational bankruptcy.

Why do many reformers think that democracy is their enemy? Why do they put their trust in autocracy?