Major New Research Alliance to Study Improvement in City Schools


NYU to Host New Center; Executive Director Appointed; Initial Funding Secured from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Ford Foundation

Taking a major new step to advance school improvement in New York, stakeholders from across the city have formed 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. Utilizing recent advances in education science and drawing on the expertise of the city’s and the nation’s top researchers, the Research Alliance hopes to be a source of valid and reliable evidence both about the challenges of providing a high quality education for all students and about the effectiveness of promising strategies aimed at addressing those challenges.

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. Schools Chancellor Joel Klein and United Federation of Teachers Vice President Leo Casey joined other members of the Research Alliance to make the announcement.

The Alliance today announced that it has named Dr. 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, DC. He holds a master’s and doctorate in education from Harvard University.

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.

William Bowen, president emeritus of Princeton University, emeritus president of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and chair of the Alliance search committee, said, “Jim Kemple has a demonstrated commitment to public education, impressive experience leading research projects, unquestioned stature in the field, and, perhaps most importantly, a deep commitment to research that would answer pressing questions facing practitioners and benefit students. In addition, Dr. Kemple is familiar with the New York City school system because of his long experience at MDRC. Dr. Kemple was the unanimous choice of the Research Alliance Board, and we are extremely pleased that he has agreed to take on leadership of the Research Alliance.”

Kathryn Wylde, president and CEO of the Partnership for New York City, said, “The business community has long contended that a transparent system for measuring results is essential for successful management of the schools. The Research Alliance will provide the independent analysis required to help guide policy and future investment in the education system.”

The Alliance will contribute to scholarly research that is relevant to both policy and practice on issues ranging from student achievement and preparation for higher education and the workforce to instructional pr 500

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