Major New Research Alliance to Study Improvement in City Schools


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(Pictured: Joel Klein, NYC Schools Chancellor; James Kemple, newly appointed executive director of the Research Alliance; Kathryn Wylde, President and CEO, Partnership for NYC; John Sexton, NYU President; Deborah Glick, NY State Assemblywoman; Leo Casey, VP of United Federation of Teachers)

New York City Schools Chancellor Joel Klein recently joined officials from the teachers union, civic leaders, education researchers, and policymakers in taking a major new step to advance school improvement in New York. The Research Alliance for New York City Schools at New York University, a non-partisan applied research center that is independent of city government and the Department of Education will utilize recent advances in education science and draw on the expertise of the city’s and the nation’s top researchers to be a source of valid and reliable evidence about efforts to provide high quality education for all students.

Housed within NYU’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, the Research Alliance will have close academic connections to other NYU schools—the Faculty of Arts and Science, the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service—as well as to Columbia Teachers College and CUNY, and will work to forge connections with other research universities nationally.

The Research Alliance also named James Kemple as executive director. Kemple, formerly director of K-12 Education Policy at MDRC, a national social policy research organization based in New York City, is a former high school math teacher and program director for a community-based education organization in Washington, D.C. He holds a master’s and doctorate in education from Harvard University.

To support the work of the Research Alliance, Chancellor Klein has committed to ensuring that the new center has access to the Department of Education’s rich databases on student, personnel, and school characteristics and performance and that the Department will collaborate on evaluations of initiatives aimed at improving the city’s schools.

Said Chancellor Klein, “Many of our reforms reflect the power of data and high-quality analysis, and we believe that the Research Alliance will help us build on our progress by doing independent, high-quality analyses of what programs are working and which aren’t.”

The initial funding for the alliance’s work will be provided by a $3 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and a $500,000 grant from the Ford Foundation. Planning for the research alliance was funded by the Donors’ Education Collaborative, a group of New York City-based funders interested in school reform, the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, the New York Community Trust, and other local and national foundations.

To read the full press release, click here.