New Book Offers Insights into Education Reform Efforts in New York City

Apr 27, 2011, 12:13 ET from American Institutes for Research

WASHINGTON, April 27, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As Dennis Walcott begins his tenure as chancellor of New York City's public school system, a new book by leading education scholars offers insights into the strengths and weaknesses of the City's ambitious "Children First" school reform efforts conducted from 2002 through 2010 under the leadership of Joel Klein, the former chancellor.

The book, Education Reform in New York City: Ambitious Change in the Nation's Most Complex School System, edited by researchers Jennifer O'Day and Catherine Bitter of the American Institutes for Research (AIR), and Professor Louis Gomez of the University of Pittsburgh, is published by Harvard Education Press. The research was conducted by the New York City Education Reform Retrospective project, which examined the landmark Children First Initiative aimed at reforming New York City's public schools. 

"It is our belief that the chapters of this book, and the research they are based upon, shed light on the strategies of the Klein administration and will help inform the leadership transition now underway in New York City," said O'Day, who served as director of the project. "We also believe that the lessons learned can offer valuable insights for those involved in education reform efforts across the country."

The book addresses key aspects of urban systemic reform, including governance, accountability, instruction, finance, choice and competition, and student outcomes.

The Children First initiative was announced in October 2002 in an effort to improve achievement across all schools and to address persistently low performing schools by moving innovation and effective school change throughout the system.

The NYC Education Reform Retrospective project was funded through support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; the Carnegie Corporation of New York; the Robertson Foundation and the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation.

About AIR

Established in 1946, with headquarters in Washington, D.C., the American Institutes for Research (AIR) is a nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization that conducts behavioral and social science research and delivers technical assistance both domestically and internationally in the areas of health, education, and workforce productivity. For more information, visit

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SOURCE American Institutes for Research