DC Mayor Adrian Fenty has appointed Allen Y. Lew to run the $2.3 billion modernization effort in District schools. This continues Fenty's efforts to completely change the nature of DC public schools. His flagship initiative has been to try to replace the entire school board with the mayor. This level of control that Fenty wants to exercise over the school district is virtually unheard of, especially in large cities.
There are two main benefits to this policy: nimbleness and accountability. Without having to go through the inherently arduous process of collecting yays and nays from a beaurocratic school board. It also enhances mayoral accountability by making one person ultimately responsible for educational decisions.
The bad side of Fenty's plan is that it is a bit autocratic. He is distancing himself another step away from the Democratic process. His sweeping plans are also quite expensive and their efficacy is yet unproven.
It will be interesting to see if Fenty can turn around the failing DC public school system.