NYU Study Finds Summer Entrepreneurship Programs Have Benefits Beyond Business Skills 

New York University researchers evaluated the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship's (NFTE) 2014 summer entrepreneurship programs, designed to introduce teenage students to the concepts of entrepreneurship while developing their academic and life skills.

“Summer learning loss is a significant problem for students who aren’t engaged during summer vacation. However, summer programs are a way to help students improve their academic skills in nonacademic settings,” said Meryle Weinstein, research assistant professor of education policy at NYU’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development and the Institute for Education and Social Policy.

“In our report on NFTE’s summer entrepreneurship programs, many students indicated that the business-related skills they learned would help them in other parts of their lives, including academic areas such as writing and math, and even managing personal finances.”

Weinstein will report her findings today in a panel titled “New Ways to Measure Student Success” at the annual meeting of the Association for Education Finance and Policy in Washington, D.C.

Teaching entrepreneurship – how to create, grow, and run a business or organization – is a potential way to increase college and career readiness skills. NFTE’s 2014 summer programs, in which students learned basic business skills while developing an “entrepreneurial mindset,” served more than 450 at-risk teens in 10 cities across the country. Through classroom instruction, field trips to local businesses, guest speakers, working with mentors, and a business plan competition for seed funding, students worked to develop skills and knowledge essential for successful entrepreneurship.

Weinstein and her colleagues used both qualitative methods (interviews, observations, and focus groups) and surveys before and after the summer program to evaluate its implementation and benefit to students. The surveys were developed to measure business knowledge as well as “entrepreneurial mindset,” a collection of qualities and skills including communication and collaboration, initiative, persistence, self-direction, critical thinking, and problem solving.
Key findings of the report include:

  • Approximately 95 percent of students agreed or strongly agreed that the skills they learned in the program would help them in their life and in business.
  • 90 percent of students indicated that the skills they learned and experiences in the summer program would help them in school.
  • Students reported an improvement in their communication and problem solving skills as a result of the program.
  • Although students reported they were more prepared to start a business after completing the program, they were less likely to be interested in starting one. Prior to participating, 91 percent of students reported wanting to own a business, which declined slightly to 85 percent after.
  • Funding, youth, and lack of business skills were commonly cited as barriers to starting a business prior to the summer program. After the summer program, students perceived their skills, ideas, or resources as less of a problem, but were more likely to report that they were too busy to start a business. Many students worried about the competing time demands of starting a business and going to school.

In our research, almost all students remarked on the significant effort and time required to start and run a business, and often spoke about the important role of both persistence and passion,” Weinstein said. “Participating in the program may have served to clarify student career goals and interests.”

The study was conducted by Weinstein, Megan Silander, and Michael Chavez-Reilly of NYU’s Institute for Education and Social Policy, a joint initiative of the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development and the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. The summer programs and NYU assessment were funded by a grant from the Citi Foundation as part of their Pathways to Progress initiative.

NYU Researchers Find New York City Summer Jobs Program Participation Leads to Improved School Attendance and Regents Scores

Reporting their initial findings, researchers at New York University’s Institute for Education and Social Policy (IESP) have found that New York City’s summer jobs program improved school attendance and other educational outcomes for youth participants.

In their policy brief entitled “More than Paycheck? The Impact of Summer Youth Employment on Students Educational Engagement and Success,” co-authors Jacob Leos-Urbel, Amy Ellen Schwartz,Meryle Weinstein, and Beth C. Weitzman explored school-related outcomes for New York City public school students who applied to the city’s Summer Youth Employment Program in the summer of 2007. IESP is a joint institute of the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, and the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.

The new analysis found that school attendance increased in the school year following the applicants’ participation in the summer job program. The greatest gains, it found, were among participants who had shown risk of educational failure, including those with less than 95 percent attendance before their summer job stint, as well as those age 16 and above who had greater degrees of autonomy with regard to their own school attendance decisions.  In addition, for that group, the program increased the probability that they would pass the English and math Regents exams.

“Although the Summer Youth Employment Program is focused primarily on work during the summer, these results suggest that benefits of the program carry over into the following school year,” said NYU researcher Leos-Urbel.

New York City’s Department of Youth and Community Development administers the summer jobs program. All New York City youth ages 14 to 24 are eligible to apply. Youth apply through community-based organizations, which serve as intake sites and supervise those placed in jobs. Participants work in entry-level posts in the nonprofit, private and public sectors, and are paid the minimum wage. Placements with summer camps and day care center are the most common.

Because the program is in high demand, the city uses a lottery system to determine which youth are offered a job.  According to Leos-Urbel, “While the city uses the SYEP lottery to be as fair as possible, it is also great from a research perspective, as it randomly assigns youth to the Summer Youth Employment Program, which represents the ‘gold standard’ for program evaluation.”

The researchers used Summer Youth Employment Program data for the summer 2007 program year, matched to NYC Department of Education files. The study sample included 36,630 applicants who were in grades 8-to-11 during the prior school year, of which 90 percent were eligible for free or reduced price lunch, and 85 percent were black or Hispanic.  Future briefs by the researchers will examine additional years of data and look at the program’s effect on other outcomes such as high school graduation and college enrollment.

The Institute for Education and Social Policy has received a $500,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to research teacher preparation in earth science. It is part of a $2.8 million grant awarded to the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH).

IESP Receives NSF Grant to Research Teacher Preparation in Earth Science

The Institute for Education and Social Policy has received a $500,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to research teacher preparation in earth science. It is part of a $2.8 million grant awarded to the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH).

Under the grant, “An Innovative Approach to Earth Science Teacher Preparation: Uniting Science, Informal Science Education, and Schools to Raise Student Achievement,” AMNH will develop a new teacher education program model to prepare science teachers. NYU’s Institute for Education and Social Policy (IESP) will then research whether students taught by teachers in the AMNH program outperform students taught by new earth science teachers trained in other programs.

The AMNH program, which will require residents-in-training to work alongside scientists, is one of several “clinically rich” pilot preparation programs, where theory and practice are woven and demonstrated in classroom instruction. The AMNH program will work with six middle-high schools in New York City, Yonkers, and Freeport, Long Island. Resident rotations will include science, English Language Learners (ELL), and Special Education classrooms. The program focuses on earth science because it is one of the greatest areas of teacher shortages in urban areas, a circumstance due, in part, to poor retention rates— an estimated 50 percent of new teachers in high-needs schools leave within the first five years.

AMNH, which has access to the required scientific and educational resources in earth science and related disciplines, including paleontology and astrophysics, will develop a program that will include two years of mentoring for new teachers. In addition, a full academic year of residency in high-needs public schools will be supplemented by: two AMNH-based clinical summer residencies, a museum teaching residency prior to entering their host schools, and a museum science residency prior to teaching candidates entering the profession.

NYU’s IESP will then consider the effectiveness of the AMNH prepared teachers in comparison to other newly prepared teachers in New York State. The grant for the development and authorization of this new program comes from the New York State Education Department and the New York Board of Regents’ “Race to the Top Fund.” The “Race to the Top Fund” is designed to encourage and reward states that are creating the conditions for education innovation and reform in order to enhance student performance, raise and close achievement gaps, improve high school graduation rates, and bolster preparing for success in college and in the workplace.

The University of Southern Maine is the grant’s external evaluator, which will review and assess the program as it is being implemented.

IESP receives new grant from the William T. Grant Foundation

The Institute for Education and Social Policy has been awarded 300,000 by the William T. Grant Foundation for the research project entitled "Crime, Context, and Children's Academic Performance". Children exposed to violent crime have poorer reading scores, higher rates of school absenteeism, lower educational attainment, higher dropout rates, and a lower likelihood of attending college. Prior research has also found that schools can buffer the negative psychological and behavioral effects of exposure to community violence. `The study will examine the impact of recent exposure to violent crime on academic achievement and how the impact varies with respect to the timing of the incident, its physical proximity to the student, and the degree of violence. The research team will be led by Amy Ellen Schwartz, Director of IESP, and Patrick Sharkey, Assisant Professof of Sociology, with investigators Ingrid Gould Ellen Professor of Urban Planning and Public Policy /Wagner, and Meryle Weinstein (Assistant Director of IESP).

IESP awarded $1.3 million from the National Institutes of Health 

The Institute for Education and Social Policy has been awarded 1.3 million dollars from the National  Institutes of Health (NIH) for the research project entitled "The Impact of School Food Policy on Childhood Obesity".Building on prior IESP work, this project will link FITNESSGRAM data collected by the New York City Department of Education and school characteristics to better understand the influence schools have on student health through their food policies. Specifically, the work will use econometric methods to investigate the role school and district food policies have on (a) BMI, (b) meal program participation, and (c) academic outcomes. Data on district policies, school practices, and neighborhood context will be collected via a city-wide survey of schools, interviews with district personnel, and several school case studies.

The research team, led by Principal Investigator Amy Ellen Schwartz, includes Brian Elbel (Assistant Professor of Medicine and Health Policy/NYU School of Medicine), Meryle Weinstein (Assistant Director of IESP), Sean P. Corcoran (Assistant Professor of Educational Economics/Steinhardt), L. Beth Dixon (Associate Professor of Nutrition and Public Health/Steinhardt), Leanna Stiefel (Professor of Economics/Wagner & Steinhardt), and Rogan Kersh (Associate Professor of Public Policy/Wagner).

Public School Students Living in Foreclosed Buildings More Likely to Change Schools

New research findings from NYU’s Furman Center and Institute for Education and Social Policy document the impact of the foreclosure crisis on student mobility

Building on their 2010 publication, Kids and Foreclosure: New York City, researchers at New York University’s Institute for Education and Social Policy (IESP) and Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy have released a new study entitled, Foreclosure and Kids: Does Losing Your Home Mean Losing Your School? This report finds that public school students living in buildings in foreclosure were more likely to change schools in the year following a foreclosure notice than other students, and that they were less likely to enroll in schools outside New York City or to switch to private or parochial schools.

“While we expected that children whose homes received a foreclosure notice would be more likely than other children to change schools, we were surprised that they are less likely to leave the New York City public school system.” said Leanna Stiefel, associate director of the Institute for Education and Social Policy. “It’s possible the foreclosure prevented families from moving or enrolling their children in parochial or private schools.”

The research also finds that students who moved to new schools after a foreclosure tended to move to lower-performing schools. On average, children living in buildings entering foreclosure end up in schools with a math proficiency rate 12 percentage points lower and a reading proficiency rate five percentage points lower than the school they left. The change in school quality suffered by students who moved schools after foreclosure was no more dramatic, however, than changes experienced by other students who moved schools. 

“Students affected by foreclosure tend to wind up in poorer performing schools than those they left, which may affect their school performance in the future,” said Vicki Been, faculty director of the Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy. “The next step in our research will look specifically at how these foreclosure-related moves may affect student performance.”

The report focuses on elementary and middle school students who attended New York City public schools in the 2003-04 and 2006-07 school years. Between those two time periods, the number of properties receiving a foreclosure notice increased by 41 percent, and the number of students living in properties entering foreclosure rose by 69 percent to 20,453 students.

The Open Society Foundations funded three research organizations from the National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership (NNIP) to explore how foreclosures have affected children in their cities. NYU’s Institute for Education and Social Policy and Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy were chosen to study New York City’s public school students, while other researchers are examining children’s experiences in Baltimore, MD, and Washington, DC.


The Effects of Housing Instability on Children's Educational Outcomes

The Institute for Education and Social Policy and the Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy  have been awarded a grant by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to study the effects of housing instability on children's educational outcomes in partnership with the University of Connecticut, Indiana University and Northwestern University.

The enormous upheavals in the housing arrangements of many American families over the last decade has exposed millions of children to housing instability, yet policymakers know surprising little about how these changes affect children. Past research has been limited by concerns that the impacts attributed to moving schools and homes could not be separated from the impacts of unobserved characteristics of the families that move and of the neighborhoods to which they move.

Using longitudinal data linking foreclosures and other kinds of housing upheavals to individual public school student records in four major markets suffering from unusual housing instability-New York City, and the counties of San Diego and Fresno in California and Pinellas County in Florida -we will test whether and how housing instability affects students' educational outcomes. Because current housing instability often is attributable to changes and volatility in mortgage and housing markets rather than to changes in a family's own characteristics, we are able to use a variety of empirical strategies to separate the effects of housing instability from the effects of unobserved family characteristics. Our primary strategy will be to compare the educational outcomes of students who have experienced housing instability to those of otherwise similar students who have not experienced such instability, before and after the instability.

Our findings will inform federal, state and local housing, mortgage finance and education policymakers about whether, when, and how they should intervene in housing markets or tailor educational processes to try to reduce any negative effects that housing instability may cause. Further, the findings will help policymakers at every level of government better estimate the benefits of providing more stable housing.Research Partners:

Vicki Been, NYU Law, Furman Center

Ingrid Gould Ellen, NYU Wagner School of Public Service, Furman Center

Amy Ellen Schwartz, NYU Steinhardt, NYU Institute for Education and Social Policy

Leanna Stiefel, NYU Steinhardt, NYU Institute for Education and Social Policy

Stephen Ross, Department of Economics, University of Connecticut

David Figlio, Institute for Policy Research, Northwestern University

Ashlyn Aiko Nelson, School of Public and Environmental Affairs, Indiana University 

To read the official press release from the MacArthur Foundation click here

Sean Corcoran on Value-Added 

On December 10th, Sean Corcoran spoke to  the Washington Education Association on using value-added measures to evaluate teachers. Click below to learn more about value added.

Click here

IESP Particpates in the New York City Education Reform Retrospective

On November 10th, Amy Ellen Schwartz, Leanna Stiefel, Sean P. Corcoran, and Leslie Santee Siskin presented papers at the New York City Education Reform Retrospective Conference, hosted by the American Institutes for Research and the NYC Education Reform Retrospective Panel.

Financing K-12 Education in the Bloomberg Years, 2002-2008 (Audio available here)
Amy Ellen Schwartz and Leanna Stiefel

School Choice and Competition in New York City Schools (Audio available here)
Sean P. Corcoran

Changing Contexts and the Challenge of High School Reform in New York City
(Audio available here)
Leslie Santee Siskin 

To listen to the closing panel discussion click here

IESP Co-Sponsors Lectures with HMSS

 IESP is co-sponsoring three lectures with the Steinhardt Department of Applied Statistics, Social Science, and Humanities.

November 16, 2010: Bruce Baker
Rutgers, Graduate School of Education
"Exploring Variations in Schooling Resources Across Public, Private, and Charter Schools"

February 8, 2011: Jan Poppendieck
Hunter College, Sociology
"Free For All: Fixing School Food in America"

March 29, 2011: Allison Armour-Bard
NY State Department of Education
"On New York State's 'Race to the Top' Plans"

For more information:

Steinhardt Starts New Degree in Education and Social Policy

Beginning in September, 2009, The Steinhardt School is accepting applicants for its new Master's degree in Education and Social Policy , with a first class in September 2010. Read about the new program at:

IESP Presents at the American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting

The Institute for Education and Social Policy recently presented at the American Educational Reasearch Association Annual Meeting, held in San Diego from April 13 - 17,  2009. Presentations included the following:

Charter Schools and the Gender Gap, Jennifer L. Jennings, Sean P. Corcoran, and Juli Simon Thomas

Mandating Autonomy: Inside the New Decentralization in New York City Public Schools, Joseph P. McDonald, Leslie Santee Siskin

New Frontiers in School Trust Research, Leslie Santee Siskin, Discussant

Opening Democratic Teacher Forums: Small Schools, Graduate Schools and Alternative Certification Programs, Leslie Santee Siskin

IESP Presents at the American Education Finance Association Annual Conference

The Institute for Education and Social Policy recently presented at the American Education Finance Association Annual Conference, held in Nashville, Tennessee from March 19 - 21, 2009. Presentations included the following:

Testing the Convergence Hypothesis in Immigrant Academic Achievement: A Longitudinal Analysis (Poster Session), Costanza Biavaschi, Amy Ellen Schwartz, and Leanna Stiefel  

Effects of School Characteristics on Performance Differential between Foreign and Native-Born High School Students: Lessons from New York City, Luis Chalico

Alternative Equity Reforms in School Finance, Sean Corcoran, Discussant   

Urban School Decentralization and 'Weighted Student Funding, Sean P. Corcoran, Amy Ellen Schwartz, and Leanna Stiefel  

Determinants of School Capital Spending, Todd L. Ely  

Public Housing and Public Schools:  How Do Students Living in New York City Public Housing Fare in School?, Brian McCabe and Amy Ellen Schwartz  

Quality Counts: Education Week's Annual Investigation of Education Policy and Finance Leanna Stiefel  

The Views of AEFA Members on Issues in Education Finance and Policy, Anne Katherine Rotenberg, Leanna Stiefel

The State of New York City's Public Schools: Financing Urban Education 
A Mayoral Control Discussion Series event

On March 10, 2009, the Institute for Education and Social Policy, the Wagner Policy Alliance, and the Wagner Education Policy Studies Association hosted "The State of New York City's Public Schools: Financing Urban Education," a panel discussion  focused on the financial crisis facing New York City's public schools. Four panelists weighed in on a range of local, state and federal education finance questions from moderator and IESP Director Amy Ellen Schwartz and the nearly 60 guests in  attendance, including: How can the Governor and Mayor remain committed to public education in the face of such steep cuts? Will the federal stimulus bill come to the rescue of New York City's public school system? Panelists included: George Sweeting, Deputy Director of the New York City Independent Budget Office; Ling Tan, Director of Budgeting and Financial Planning for the New York City Department of Education; Joseph Colletti, United Federation of Teachers; and Charles Brecher, NYU Wagner Professor and Research Director for the Citizens Budget Commission. This event was part of the ongoing Mayoral Control Discussion Series co-sponsored by IESP, the Wagner Policy Alliance, and the Wagner Education Policy Studies Association.

Brown Bag Talk by Columbia Professor Jonah Rockoff
A Mayoral Control Discussion Series event 

Columbia Business School Professor Jonah Rockoff delivered a brown bag talk at the Institute for Education and Social Policy on February 19, 2009. Dr. Rockoff presented  his paper, "Short Run Impacts of Accountability on School Quality," to roughly 25 attendees. This event was part of the ongoing Mayoral Control Discussion Series co-sponsored by IESP, the Wagner Policy Alliance, and the Wagner Education Policy  Studies Associate. To download Dr. Rockoff's paper, please visit the IESP website:

Amy Ellen Schwartz delivers keynote address at the College Board's Annual Leadership Colloquium

Amy Ellen Schwartz delivered the keynote address at the College Board's Annual Leadership Colloquium in Tampa, Florida, on February 27, 2009. Dr. Schwartz's address, "Closing the Race Gap in College Readiness," focused on the disparities in academic performance between African American and white high school students and potential policy levers to close this gap.

Click here for the presentation slides.

Amy Ellen Schwartz testifies before New York City Council

On February 25, 2009, Dr. Amy Ellen Schwartz testifed before the New York City Council Committee on Education and Subcommittee on Public Housing. Dr. Schwartz presented the results of a joint study conducted by IESP and NYU's Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy that examines the school performance of children living in New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) housing.

 Click here to read Dr. Schwartz's testimony.

Click here to read the policy brief that summarizes the results of this study.

IESP Research Featured at Abu Dhabi Conference

The NYU Abu Dhabi Institute's inaugural conference on Education and Human Development was held on January 20-22, 2009 at the Al Mamoura Auditorium, Abu Dhabi. This three-day conference, organized by NYU's Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development, focused on the following areas: Teacher Education and Development; Education Assessment and Evaluation; Economics of Education; and Media and Civil Society

Dr. Amy Ellen Schwartz, Director of the Institute for Education and Social Policy, was the organizer/moderator for one of the conference panels:

Contributions of Quantitative Analysis to Education Policy

Amy Ellen Schwartz

The papers in this session used econometric anaysis of administrative and survey data to explore issues in education policy. While the papers are based on U.S. data, the panelists have extensive experience in countries outside of the U.S. and the panel discussion focused on their experience with this approach in other countries, what we can learn from them, and the implications for applications in Abu Dhabi and the United Arab Emirates.


Sean Corcoran, New York University, "'Value added' Measures of Teacher Quality: Use and Policy Validity"

Peter Dolton, University of London and London School of Economics, "Quantitative Analysis of Education Policy in the UK"

Andrew Leigh, Australian National University, "Quantitative Analysis of Education Policy in Australia"

Abigail Payne, McMaster University, "Insights into the Canadian Education System" 

Leanna Stiefel, New York University, "Can Reorganizing K-8 Education Improve Academic Performance? The Impact of Grade Span on Student Achievement"  

Matt Wiswall, New York University