At NYU Steinhardt, Leadership Forum Brings Research on What Works in Education to Policymakers

Chancellor Carmen Fariña

NYU Steinhardt hosted an Education Solutions Initiative Leadership Forum on September 13th.  The event brought together city and state policymakers and members of the education community for a discussion how to make meaningful progress on resolving the critical issues facing students and educators.

In his opening remarks, Steinhardt Dean Dominic Brewer remarked that since its historic founding as the first School of Pedagogy at an American university in 1890, the Steinhardt School has not only been at the forefront of preparing the next generation of educators, but has worked to improve equity and effectiveness in school systems through its research and programs.

“This requires a robust, meaningful two-way conversation between academia and practitioners and policymakers.  This is an aspiration, but the dialogue today is one step in trying to get closer to that goal,” Brewer said.

In a keynote address, Carmen Fariña (BS ’65), chancellor of the New York City Department of Education, drew on her fifty years of service to public schools as a teacher, principal, superintendent, and deputy chancellor to reflect on the changes that have influenced the classroom.

Fariña cited  MIT’s Scratch gaming software and the digital world-building game, Minecraft, as examples of technology that offers an open dialogue between students and teachers, who become facilitators and partners in learning technology.

David Kirkland gives an EdTalk on school discipline.

A series of EdTalks by NYU Steinhardt faculty members, were introduced by Pamela Morris, vice dean for research and faculty affairs.  Morris noted that these five-minute presentations might be regarded as a “brave step for the academy scholar, whose findings would be used to fulfill a promise of evidence-based policymaking.”

The presentations were highlights from white papers on these topics:

Can Universal Pre-K Work?

Outcomes Beyond Test Scores – What is Social-Emotional Learning

Where is the Common Core Headed?

How Can Educational Systems Better Serve English Learners?

How Can We Improve School Climate and Discipline Practices?

How Can We Improve College Success for Underserved Students?

The event closed with a panel discussion that featured Ron Kim, New York State Assemblyman, District 40 and Josh Wallack, deputy chancellor of strategy and policy, New York City Department of Education, and was moderated by James Kemple, the executive director of NYU’s Steinhardt’s Research Alliance for the New York City Schools.

Policy panel with James Kemple, Ron Kim, and Josh Wallack.

Wallack spoke about an NYU Steinhardt partnership with the Department of Education around the implementation of universal Pre-K and cited the importance of working closely with researchers to analyze data in order to make quick decisions about limited resources.

In a Twitter post, Wallack sent readers to the white paper discussed at the forum.  He tweeted, “Can Universal Pre-K work by our partner @nyusteinhardt Hiro Yoskikawa, Cybele Raver, & Pam Morris bit.ly/2cbmAEO Spoiler alert: YES.”