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ERIC Number: ED539592
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Nov
Pages: 11
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Bringing a Public Voice to the School Governance Debate: The Campaign for Better Schools and Mayoral Control in New York City. Executive Summary
Research for Action
Since 1995, the Donors' Education Collaborative (DEC) has supported a range of groups--advocacy, organizing, research and policy groups--that advocate for, or have members from, diverse constituencies concerned about public education in New York City (NYC). DEC has also encouraged collaborations among these types of groups to leverage their influence on education policy at city and state levels. The groups, consisting of youth, parents and community leaders, operate in all five NYC boroughs. Some focus solely on education issues, while others have multi-issue agendas. They include groups representing African Americans, Asian-Americans and Latinos, as well as a range of immigrant and refugee populations. In anticipation of the June 2009 sunset of mayoral control of the NYC schools, and the passing of new legislation that would maintain, change or end mayoral control, DEC sought to encourage a robust public debate about school governance. In late 2007, DEC funded the Alliance for Quality Education (AQE) to plan with the Coalition for Educational Justice (CEJ), the Community Involvement Project of the Annenberg Institute for School Reform (CIP), and the New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC) for a partnership that would develop a coalition to bring a public voice to the school governance debate. In Spring 2008, following the initiating groups' planning process, DEC invited Research for Action, working in collaboration with Professor Jeffrey Henig of Teachers College, to evaluate the implementation and impact of the coalition they would build on the debate and the outcomes, as well as on the broader NYC educational policy environment. This Executive Summary covers the findings of the two-year study period, May 2008 through May 2010. The overall question that the study seeks to answer is: In what ways does DEC's sustained investment in advocacy, organizing, research and policy groups that include and advocate for minority and immigrant families contribute to a broader public understanding and a richer, more informed and more democratically responsive debate about NYC school governance and policies? The authors raise this question in the context of the significance of--civic capacity for the sustainability of school reform. A community with civic capacity is one in which groups work across sectors to identify a shared agenda and to mobilize the human and financial resources required to forward that agenda. Considerable research has suggested that school districts in cities in which significant civic capacity is present are those in which reforms are most likely to be sustainable. Thus, the report examines the impact of DEC's funding in terms of whether the coalition, called the Campaign for Better Schools, succeeded in its policy goals, but also draws conclusions about whether DEC funding has advanced the longer term development and sustainability of a collaborative and effective civic sector engaged in an ongoing role in school reform. An interdisciplinary team of researchers used a qualitative research approach employing multiple methods of data collection, including an examination of public opinion polls; a media scan; and extensive fieldwork with a broad range of policy makers and observers, and political actors, including Campaign members as well as other education advocates and activists. (Contains 2 figures.)
Research for Action. 3701 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104. Tel: 215-823-2500; Fax: 215-823-2510; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Research for Action
Identifiers - Location: New York