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Reforming New York City's Public Schools

Thursday February 2007


Christopher Cerf Deputy Chancellor for Organizational Strategy, Human Capital, and External Affairs, New York City Department of Education

Introduction: Abigail Thernstrom, Senior Fellow, Manhattan Institute

Many observers think the Department of Education has made strong gains since Mayor Bloomberg asked for control of – and accountability for – New York City’s schools. The system he and Chancellor Klein inherited was unstable, characterized by bureaucratic inertia, and far too often it allowed special interest politics to trump the educational interests of children.

The Mayor and Chancellor set out to reverse that – calling the reform effort “Children First.” They have sought to create system-wide coherence and stability with a new streamlined management structure, tougher academic standards, and an emphasis on leadership and accountability.

Building on that platform, on January 17th the Mayor and Chancellor announced the next phase of reforms. Rejecting “incrementalism” as a failed strategy, they outlined an array of structural reforms that they believe will create the conditions for a dramatic increase in student achievement.

Chris Cerf, the Deputy Chancellor, will describe these reforms and discuss their implications for both New York City’s 1.1 million students and education reform more generally.