Education Reform in New York City

Education Reform in New York City Ambitious Change in the Nation’s Most Complex School System

Edited by Jennifer A. O’Day, Catherine S. Bitter, and Louis M. Gomez
paper, 368 Pages
Pub. Date: April 2011
ISBN-13: 978-1-934742-83-9
Price: $32.00

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Written in an accessible style by highly respected scholars, the papers in this volume document and analyze particular components of the Children First reforms, including governance, community engagement, finance, accountability, and instruction.


An extraordinary analysis of the New York reform effort: the volume is respectful of the scope and intensity of the Bloomberg-Klein reforms, yet it penetrates the hype. These collected chapters present big city education reform in their true light: as very hard work requiring years of sustained effort. If you want feel-good fairy tales about Gotham, read elsewhere. If you want compassionate truth, read this book. — Charles Taylor Kerchner, professor, Claremont Graduate University

Education Reform in New York City provides clear and comprehensive analyses of an extremely complex set of very high-profile reforms. It also provides a template for analyzing multipart, interrelated efforts that escape easy characterization and appraisal. The authors have done a splendid job of bringing clarity to a complicated story. — Susan H. Fuhrman, president, Teachers College, Columbia University

This is an important book. Its breadth does justice to the ambition and complexity of New York City’s Children First reforms, as seen through the perspectives of both critics and advocates. Let the debates continue and enrich other communities wrestling with the challenge of turning around urban schools. — Andrés A. Alonso, CEO, Baltimore City Public Schools

This outstanding volume provides a highly engaging and thorough look at a critical era in New York City’s public schools. The authors clearly articulate distinct approaches to systemic reform while highlighting the interconnections between them. Education Reform in New York City offers insights applicable to reform efforts all over the country. — Ellen Moir, CEO, New Teacher Center

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About the Editors

Jennifer A. O’Day is a managing research scientist at the American Institutes for Research and director of the New York City Education Reform Retrospective project. Her main areas of research include accountability and capacity building strategies in standards-based reform, effects of district and state policy on classroom instructional practice, and equity. She currently chairs the California Collaborative on District Reform, which joins researchers, school district leaders, and state policy makers in ongoing evidenced-based dialogue and joint activity to improve instruction and student learning for all students in California’s urban school systems.

Catherine S. Bitter is a senior research analyst at the American Institutes for Research. Her work has focused on district-level reform and accountability policy. She has led a study of the literacy instructional practices associated with the reform efforts in San Diego City Schools, and has served as a senior researcher supporting the California Collaborative on District Reform.

Louis M. Gomez, Helen Faison Professor of Urban Education at the University of Pittsburgh, is also a senior partner at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Professor Gomez works to improve the day-to-day work of teaching and learning and organizational activity. Most recently, he has turned his attention to problem-solving research and development, R&D organized around high-leverage problems embedded in the day-to-day work of teaching and learning and the institutions in which these activities occur.

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