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Research Alliance for New York City Schools, The;
During the last decade, education research and policy have generated considerable momentum behind efforts to remake teacher evaluation systems and place an effective teacher in every classroom. But schools are not simply collections of individual teachers; they are also organizations, with structures, practices, and norms that may impede or support good teaching. Could strengthening schools -- as organizations -- lead to better outcomes for teachers and students?
This study begins to address that question by examining how changes in school climate were related to changes in teacher turnover and student achievement in 278 NYC middle schools between 2008 and 2012. Drawing on teacher responses to NYC's annual School Survey, as well as student test scores, human resources data, and school administrative records, we identified four distinct and potentially malleable dimensions of middle schools' organizational environments:
Leadership and professional development;High academic expectations for students;Teacher relationships and collaboration; andSchool safety and order.We then examined how changes in these four dimensions over time were linked to corresponding changes in teacher turnover and student achievement. We found robust relationships between increases in all four dimensions of school climate and decreases in teacher turnover, suggesting that improving the environment in which teachers work could play an important role in reducing turnover. (The annual turnover in NYC middle schools is about 15 percent.)
We also discovered that improvements in two dimensions of school climate -- safety and academic expectations -- predicted small, but meaningful gains in students' performance on standardized math tests.
Taken together with other emerging evidence, these findings suggest that closing achievement gaps and turning around struggling schools will demand a focus on not only individual teacher effectiveness, but also the organizational effectiveness of schools. The policy brief outlines several potential areas of focus for districts that want to help schools in building healthy well-functioning organizations.
Boston Foundation, The;
A new study commissioned by the Boston Foundation on how Boston and comparable cities support the arts shows that only New York City has higher per capita contributed revenue for the art than Boston, among major American cities.
The study, titled "How Boston and Other American Cities Support and Sustain the Arts: Funding for Cultural Nonprofits in Boston and 10 Other Metropolitan Cities," also examined Baltimore, Chicago, Cleveland, Houston, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Philadelphia, Portland Oregon, San Francisco, and Seattle. "How Boston" is a follow-up of sorts to a 2003 Boston Foundation report titled, "Funding for Cultural Organizations in Boston and Nine Other Metropolitan Areas."
Key findings of this study, regarding Boston, include the fact that Boston's arts market is quite densely populated. While Greater Boston is the nation's 10th largest metro area and ranks ninth for total Gross Domestic Product, its non-profit arts market, which consists of more than 1,500 organizations, is comparable to that of New York and San Francisco, and consistently surpasses large cities such as Houston, Chicago and Philadelphia, in terms of the number of organizations and their per capita expenses.
Women's Center for Education and Career Advancement;
More than two in five New York City households -- over 940,000 households -- lack enough income to mcover just the necessities, such as food, shelter, health care and child care. Yet as measured by the federal poverty level (FPL), less than half that number is officially designated as "poor." Moving from statistics to people, this translates to over 2.7 million men, women, and children struggling to make ends meet in New York City. Consequently, a large and diverse group of New Yorkers experiencing economic distress is routinely overlooked and undercounted. Many of these hidden poor are struggling to meet their most basic needs, without the help of work supports (they earn too much income to qualify for most, but too little to meet their needs). To make things even worse, their efforts are aggravated by the reality that the costs of housing, health care, and other living expenses continue to rise faster than wages in New York City.
To document these trends, we use the yardstick of the Self-Sufficiency Standard. This measure answers the question as to how much income is needed to meet families' basic needs at a minimally adequate level, including the essential costs of working, but without any assistance, public or private. Once these costs are calculated, we then apply the Standard to determine how many -- and which -- households lack enough to cover the basics. Unlike the federal poverty measure, the Standard is varied both geographically and by family composition, reflecting the higher costs facing some families (especially child care for families with young children) and in some places.
This report combines two series -- the Self-Sufficiency Standard plus Overlooked and Undercounted -- into one to present a more accurate picture of income inadequacy in New York City. The first section of the report presents the 2014 Self-Sufficiency Standard for New York City, documenting how the cost of living at a basic needs level has increased since 2000. The second section uses the American Community Survey to detail the number and characteristics of households, focusing on those below the Self-Sufficiency Standard.
Research Alliance for New York City Schools, The;
The iMentor College Ready Program is a unique model that combines elements of school-based mentoring, whole school reform, and technology in an effort to help students develop the knowledge, behaviors, and skills needed to reach and succeed in college. It is an intensive, four-year intervention offered in schools that serve low-income students. Students are paired with volunteer, college-educated mentors and enrolled in an iMentor class led by a school-based iMentor employee.
The program has four central elements:
A whole school model, which aims to match all incoming 9thgraders with a mentor, and keep them engaged for their full high school careers;A college-readiness curriculum developed by iMentor, taught by iMentor staff in weekly classes, and reinforced during monthly events for mentees and mentors;A "blended" approach to developing relationships between students and their mentor. Students communicate with their mentor primarily through email, but also meet in person at the iMentor events; andA pair support strategy based on a case-management model for tracking mentee-mentor relationship development.The Research Alliance for New York City Schools is conducting an in-depth evaluation of the iMentor College Ready Program in eight New York City high schools. With support from the Social Innovation Fund, the Research Alliance is examining iMentor's roll-out and implementation in these schools, as well as its impact on a range of outcomes related to students' preparation for college.
This report is the first in a series from our evaluation. It focuses on iMentor's first year of implementation, which targeted 9th graders in all eight schools. The report provides a detailed description of the four key components of the iMentor College Ready Program and assesses the implementation of these program elements against specific benchmarks established by iMentor. The report also presents a first look at iMentor's effects on 9th graders' outcomes, including their perception of adult support, their aspirations for the future, a set of important college-related "non-cognitive" skills, and several markers of academic achievement.
This study provides the most comprehensive analysis to date of the size, scope, and giving patterns of foundations located in the New York metropolitan area, which includes Bronx, Kings, New York, Putnam, Queens, Richmond, Rockland, and Westchester counties. New York Metropolitan Area Foundations also compares the growth and giving patterns of area foundations with grantmakers nationally and in selected metropolitan areas.
Research Alliance for New York City Schools, The;
This paper synthesizes findings from the Research Alliance's investigation of teacher turnover in New York City's public middle schools. These years are widely recognized as a critical turning point for students, and the NYC Department of Education (DOE) is pursuing a range of middle school improvement initiatives. The stability of the middle school teaching force has the potential to facilitate or complicate these efforts, yet there have been few studies of the rates and patterns of teacher turnover in the City's middle schools.
This study provides the most current, comprehensive look at middle school teacher turnover to date. Drawing on a range of data sources -- including DOE human resource records from the last decade, a survey of over 4,000 full-time middle school teachers, and in-depth case studies in four middle schools -- this paper examines how long middle school teachers remain in their schools, how long they intend to stay, and what predicts whether or not they leave. It also explores how various aspects of teachers' work environment may influence these decisions. Among the key findings: Among middle school teachers who entered their school during the last decade, more than half left that school within three years -- significantly higher than the rates seen for elementary and high school teachers. Of the teachers who leave, most exit the NYC public school system altogether, and only about 1 in 10 transition to another grade 6-8 school. The findings point to several strategies that may be useful for increasing middle school teachers' lengths of stay.
Research Alliance for New York City Schools, The;
This report presents findings from the first of three components of a mixed-methods study of middle school teacher turnover in New York City. The project is a collaboration between researchers at The Research Alliance for New York City Schools, New York University, Teachers College, and Baruch College. This study reveals that 55% of the teachers who entered middle schools between 2002 and 2009 left these schools within three years. Further, nearly 60% of departing middle school teachers left the New York City public school system altogether and another 23% either moved to schools that did not include the middle grades (Grades 6-8) or took on non-teaching positions. These findings suggest an exodus of newly-arrived teachers from middle schools, and they raise questions for future research about the causes, consequences, and implications of teacher turnover. The remaining two components of the Research Alliance's larger study -- a survey and a case study analysis -- will investigate these and other questions.
Research Alliance for New York City Schools, The;
This brief presents preliminary findings from an exploratory study of New York City students' transitions into, through, and out of the middle grades. Our analysis reveals that students' attendance and achievement in their early schooling (fourth grade) predict whether students are likely to graduate from high school many years later. Further, we find that many students begin the middle grades on-track to graduate high school but fall off this trajectory before the end of eighth grade. These findings suggest that teachers and administrators should pay close attention to students whose attendance and math achievement fall during the middle grades, as these students are particularly at risk for not graduating from high school on time.
Community Development Project at the Urban Justice Center;
To better understand the challenges and opportunities all youth face in finding employment, FUREEous Youth and the Community Development Project (CDP) at the Urban Justice Center developed a participatory action research project. Using surveys, a focus group, and secondary data, this research shows that youth encounter many challenges when looking for jobs. Furthermore, the job development programs that exist to serve youth in gaining employment, while generally providing a positive experience, are not sufficient to meet the high demand and need to be retooled to better serve the youth of New York City.
New York State Permanent Judicial Commission on Justice for Children;
As the education of our children -- our nation's future -- and the school-justice connection has increasingly captured public attention, the sunshine of increased graduation rates has brought into sharp focus the shadow of the so-called school-to-prison pipeline -- the thousands of students who are suspended, arrested, put at greater risk for dropping out, court involvement and incarceration. They are the subject of this Report.
In school year 2011-2012 (SY2012), the number of suspensions in New York City public schools was 40 percent greater than during SY2006 (69,643 vs. 49,588, respectively), despite a five percent decrease in suspensions since SY2011. In addition, there were 882 school-related arrests (more than four per school day on average) and another 1,666 summonses issued during the SY2012 (more than seven per school day on average), also demonstrating an over-representation of students of color. These numbers might suggest New York City has a growing problem with violence and disruption in school but the opposite is true. Over the last several years, as reported by the Department of Education in November 2012, violence in schools has dropped dramatically, down 37 percent between 2001 and 2012. Indeed, violence Citywide has dropped dramatically.
Emerging facts suggest that the surge in suspensions is not a function of serious misbehavior. New York City has the advantage of newly available public data that makes it possible for the first time to see patterns and trends with respect to suspensions by school and to see aggregate data on school-related summonses and arrests. The data shows that the overwhelming majority of school-related suspensions, summonses and arrests are for minor misbehavior, behavior that occurs on a daily basis in most schools. An important finding is that most schools in New York City handle that misbehavior without resorting to suspensions, summonses or arrests much if at all. Instead, it is a small percentage of schools that are struggling, generating the largest number of suspensions, summonses and arrests, impacting the lives of thousands of students. This newly available data echoes findings from other jurisdictions indicating that suspension and school arrest patterns are less a function of student misbehavior than a function of the adult response. Given the same behavior, some choose to utilize guidance and positive discipline options such as peer mediation; others utilize more punitive alternatives.
The choice is not inconsequential. Recent research, including groundbreaking studies in Texas, Cincinnati and Chicago, underscore the important connections between academic outcomes and suspensions. Students who are suspended are more likely to be retained a grade, more likely to drop out, less likely to graduate and more likely to face involvement in the juvenile or criminal justice systems, thereby placing them at higher risk for poor life outcomes. Suspensions and school-related court involvement also generate significant and lifetime costs -- for extra years of schooling, for justice system involvement, and for families and all society. Notably, high rates of suspension do not yield correspondingly significant benefits, as research shows that high rates of suspensions in a school make students and teachers feel less, not more, safe.
Most worrisome are patterns of suspensions for students with disabilities and students of color in New York City and across the nation. In New York City alone during SY2012, students receiving special education services were almost four times more likely to be suspended compared to their peers not receiving special education services; Black students were four times more likely and Hispanic students were almost twice as likely to be suspended compared to White students. New York City Black students were also 14 times more likely, and Hispanic students were five times more likely, to be arrested for school-based incidents compared to White students.
Studies have shown that it is not the violent and egregious misbehavior that drives the disparities. For example, the Texas study showed that Black students had a lower rate of mandatory suspensions (suspensions for violence, weapons and other equally serious offenses) than White students. Black students exceeded White students only in the rates of suspensions for discretionary offenses.
Innovative school districts throughout the country, encouraged by the federal government, are increasingly moving away from suspensions, summonses and arrests in favor of positive approaches to discipline that work. In New York City, a range of schools similarly have adopted constructive discipline with good results. In short, we have examples of what to do. The challenge is to take that learning system-wide and transform the small group of schools that over-rely on suspensions, summonses and arrests. Change in these schools could have a significant impact on student outcomes, re-engaging thousands of students so that they stay in school and out of courts. But research and experience tell us these schools cannot make this change by themselves. They need help and support. Change will require strong leadership and committed partnerships.
New York City has a proud tradition of turning conventional wisdom on its head and achieving remarkable results. A recent example underscores this point. In the United States, conventional wisdom is and has been that mass incarceration is the cost of keeping communities safe. But New York City has proved otherwise. Even as the incarceration rate in New York City declined significantly, with a drop in the prison population of 17 percent between 2001 and 2009 and in the jail population by 40 percent from 1991 to 2009, the number of felonies reported by New York City to the Federal Bureau of Investigation also declined, down 72 percent. New York City proved conventional wisdom wrong with the result that thousands fewer people have been incarcerated -- saving the City and State taxpayers two billion dollars a year.
Similarly, New York City can refute the conventional wisdom of critics who think that sacrificing a few students -- although the thousands of students who were suspended, arrested or issued summonses each year is not a "few" -- can be justified on the theory it protects the many by improving safety and academic outcomes. There is no research that supports this belief and a growing body of research that suggests the opposite. Students in schools with lower suspension rates have better academic outcomes than students in schools with high suspension rates, irrespective of student characteristics. Students and teachers in schools with lower rates of suspension and arrest also feel safer than students and teachers at schools with high rates. Students who feel safe can learn, and teachers who feel safe can teach.
The students interviewed by Task Force members during their school visits echoed what the research also says: the best approach to keeping schools safe and improving academic outcomes is to support a positive school climate where students and teachers feel respected and valued. Evidence-based interventions like restorative justice, positive behavioral supports, and social-emotional learning are giving teachers and school leadership the tools they need to deal with school misbehavior and help build that positive school climate while keeping students safe and learning.
In 2011, Judge Judith Kaye, with the support of The Atlantic Philanthropies, convened the New York City School-Justice Partnership Task Force to bring together City leaders to address the question of how best to keep more students in school and out of courts. She invited a group of stakeholders who do not often come together -- judges and educators, researchers and advocates, prosecutors and defense counsel -- to learn more about how the systems they serve impact each other and how they might partner together to achieve better outcomes. The Task Force heard from experts from around the City and country on promising practices. It examined data to improve understanding of the challenges and look for bright spots, schools that were succeeding even in the face of a wide array of challenges. Task Force members visited local schools and heard from principals and students about what they need. Members learned from each other and debated what avenues would be best.
The work of the Task Force leads us to conclude that New York City can safely reduce the number of school-related incidents that can ultimately lead to court involvement. Indeed, the City already has models of promising practice -- schools that have high needs populations with low rates of suspensions and arrests. Learning from these schools and other reform-minded districts across the nation can guide leadership across systems to further safely reduce court involvement, arrests and suspensions while improving academic outcomes.
We recognize that progress toward this objective will require a laser-like focus on shared outcomes and an unprecedented level of partnership among city agencies, and collaboration with the courts, and it must include parents, students, teachers, principals, researchers and advocates. Leadership and partnership at the top is the key. It will make possible the adoption of shared goals to improve outcomes for New York City's children across agencies so that schools do not have to go it alone. It will make possible the ability to divert summonses and arrests unnecessarily referred to the courts. It will make possible the ability to direct services where those services are needed and stop the flow of students with disabilities and youth of color into the suspension system and the courts. It will make possible the ability to raise up our support, expectations and standards for educational achievement and outcomes for students who do become court involved.
In 2014, a new Mayor will assume office. It is already clear that school reform will be a high priority, as it has been for the Bloomberg administration. Over the past decade and more, we have learned a great deal about what works and what does not work, even as we recognize there is more to be learned. Now we have an opportunity to build on what has worked well.
Reducing unnecessary suspensions, summonses and arrests is a challenge we can tackle and we must if our students are to succeed. In the end, many more young people can grow into successful and productive adults -- and it is our duty as adults to find the supports necessary to make that happen. Frederick Douglass was right on target in his observation that it is better to build strong children than repair broken men and women. This Report summarizes almost two years of learning, and it advances recommendations to make that happen.
As the next New York City Mayor sets the course for education reform, these recommendations offer a roadmap of next steps for a Citywide effort to take advantage of emerging approaches to school and justice system leadership that are effective and fair as a means to improve outcomes for all of our children -- to keep our students in school and out of court.
Advocates for Children of New York;
In June 2013, the New York State Education Department (NYSED) announced a new teacher evaluation system for New York City, which is being enacted citywide in the 2013-14 school year. The implementation of a new system for evaluating the 75,000 teachers who work in New York City's public schools is a massive undertaking -- one that will change how principals use their time, how teachers direct their efforts in the classroom, and, ultimately, how students experience school. State Education Commissioner John King has said, "These evaluation plans will help principals and teachers improve their practice, and that in turn will help students graduate from high school ready for college and careers. That's our goal in everything we do."
As the intended beneficiaries of this major reform effort, students and their families have an enormous stake in its success. This paper makes the case that the New York City Department of Education (DOE) must include them in the policy implementation process.
Students and parents should have the opportunity to actively contribute to the policy changes that affect their lives; reforms are more likely to be successful, sustainable, and responsive to local needs when students and families are engaged as partners and supportive of such efforts. As theNational Parent Teacher Association (PTA) notes, "Because parents, teachers, students, and the general public are affected by school policy, it is appropriate that they participate in its determination. We believe that such sharing of responsibility will result in greater responsiveness to student and societal needs and therefore improve the quality of educational opportunity."
The voices of actual New York City public school parents and students echo this desire for participation with respect to teacher evaluation policy. One New York City high school student told us, "Since the students are the ones subjected to changes in the system (as well as the teachers) they should be allowed to have a say in what they think will benefit/hurt them. They should be able to say what they think makes their teachers effective/ineffective, and what can be done to fix any problems with the new policy."
Similarly, Diana M., the parent of an eleventh grader in Queens, affirmed, "We have a voice, we have many concerns and as parents should be included in these new policies that are taking place....Students as well parents have ideas and we can change the school system for the better [for] students, the DOE and the parents alike....The change starts with all three parties, parent, student and educator!"
With this paper, we are calling on the DOE to include students and parents when putting the new evaluation system into practice by establishing a stakeholder advisory group to provide feedback throughout the implementation process and ensure open discussion and sharing of responsibility take place. We begin by setting forth the arguments for including parents and students in the implementation of the new policies and conclude by providing examples of structures established for this purpose in other cities and states.
New York Community Organizing Fund, Inc. (NYCOFI);
Making enough money to survive in New York City is challenging for many, especially for those struggling at the lowest end of the pay scale. Every day tens of thousands of low wage workers in New York City must ask themselves these difficult questions: Which utility should I pay this month: the telephone or the gas? Should I walk to work -- more than an hour -- to avoid the $5.00 round trip subway cost? How will I afford to feed my family?
New York Communities Organizing Fund, Inc. (NYCOFI) and New York Communities for Change (NYCC) surveyed low wage workers in a variety of industries around New York City to get a real-world view of life in one of the most expensive cities in the country. This paper makes specific recommendations that are informed by employment statistics, an analysis of the supports that are available to workers, and our own research in the field.
We hope this paper will be a starting place for those low wage workers organizing for better conditions. We also hope it will be a factual source for those policy makers working for better conditions for low wage workers. In a city with so much wealth, no one should be struggling day-to-day just to get by.