NEW REPORT: School Accountability in the Bloomberg/Klein Era

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Center for New York City Affairs announces the release of: 

"Managing by the Numbers: Empowerment and Accountability in New York City's Schools"

New York has been the proving ground for a grand experiment in school governance since 2007, when Schools Chancellor Joel Klein replaced a tightly controlled top-down administrative structure with one that gave principals new powers to shape the culture and practice of their own schools. The chancellor's "Children First" reform is designed to free principals from day-to-day supervision and allow them latitude in matters such as hiring, curriculum and budget. In exchange, principals must demonstrate steady improvement in student performance as measured mostly by standardized test scores.

The Center's new report offers one of the first broad analyses of the Bloomberg administration's reorganization of school management. The new freedom for principals has allowed some schools to flourish, reversing decades of poor performance and low expectations. At the same time, some principals are floundering without sufficient supervision. And the city's accountability system, particularly for elementary schools, is deeply flawed, sometimes rewarding mediocrity while failing to recognize gains made by schools that are striving for excellence.

The study builds on interviews with hundreds of principals and school administrators, on-site visits to several dozen schools (with a special focus on District 7 in the South Bronx) and analysis of volumes of school performance statistics. The report also offers policy recommendations to the city's Department of Education and the Bloomberg administration.

The full report is available at the Center for New York City Affairs Web site, www.centernyc.org.