The Institute for Education and Social Policy

Areas of Work

IESP conducts research and policy analyses and evaluations of school reform and provides research-driven technical assistance for districts, state education departments, foundations, and intermediary organizations. Our work focuses on New York City, New York State, as well as the national landscape, and draws on the quantitative and qualitative training and experience of IESP's faculty, research staff and doctoral students. The Institute's research focuses on fundamental questions of systemic school improvement from a multi-disciplinary perspective, considering the interrelated systems of teaching, governance, administration, finance, and social policy. The Institute conducts research grounded in practice that informs the development of policy initiatives aimed at improving public education in urban areas.

Current research interests and projects at IESP fall into seven areas:

  • Education in New York City
    Research on New York City's schools offers the opportunity to gain insight to guide policy for urban districts everywhere. NYC is engaged in a number of experiments and reforms (e.g., small high schools), and given its diversity of students, variety of schools and differences in settings, the city's education system is robust site for research on issues facing urban education.
  • Education and Social Policy
    Academic outcomes reflect only in part the academic experiences of students; schools do not operate in a vacuum. Many social, political and governmental forces and institutions interact with the students our schools are educating.
  • Evaluation
    How well do education reforms work? For the past decade, IESP has evaluated important interventions in schools and districts, including Performance-Driven Budgeting (for the NYC Department of Education) and the Annenberg-funded New York Networks for School Renewal.
  • The Organization of Schooling
    School organization and size should be used as levers of change because of their ability to be consciously designed as a tractable cost-effective way to increase academic achievement in general and special education students.
  • Race, Immigration, and Poverty
    Where and into what family one is born affects a child's life chances immensely. Through a series of initiatives, we seek to assess these differences and study ways to improve chances for success for all children.
  • School Finance
    Education finance encompasses questions of equity, efficiency and effectiveness, accountability, and intergovernmental aid. What are the relationships among funding, policies, teachers, and student outcomes? How equitably are resources distributed to schools within school systems?
  • Housing, Neighborhoods and Schools