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National Education Forum in New York City to Focus on Improving High Schools

Geoffrey Canada, David Levin and others to speak at Event Co-Hosted by Progressive Leaders John Podesta and Robert Borosage with Teachers College, Columbia University

--Geoffrey Canada, David Levin and others to speak at Event Co-Hosted by Progressive Leaders John Podesta and Robert Borosage with Teachers College, Columbia University--

NEW YORK, NY - Should New York City continue its policy of creating small high schools within big ones - or has that effort simply drained resources away from institutions that were barely coping to begin with?

How should the City spend the billions of dollars in additional funding it is now expected to receive from the state after a decade of legal battles?

What's the best way to teach teachers how to teach high school students better reading skills?

Is there a model for boosting classroom achievement among poor and minority students to equal that of their wealthier peers - or do so many non-academic factors contribute to that gulf that schools alone are no longer equal to the task?

These are among the questions that will be debated this Friday, December 10th here at Teachers College as part of "Redesigning High Schools for the 21st Century," the sixth and final event in a series of public forums aimed at setting a new national agenda for education. The series has been hosted by former Clinton White House chief of staff John Podesta, President and CEO of the Center for American Progress, and Robert Borosage, President of the Institute for America's Future, as part of their joint project, Renewing Our Schools, Securing Our Future: A National Task Force on Public Education. The New York event - which comes on the heels of the recent landmark school financing judgment in favor of the City -- will be co-hosted by Arthur Levine, President of Teachers College, and will take place from 10 a.m. to noon at the Milbank Chapel on the Teachers College campus at 525 West 120th Street, between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue.

"High schools have become a key focus of efforts to reform America's education system," said Podesta. "Our goal is to pool the recommendations of some of the best minds in the field to create a vision of a better future."

"Too many children drop out of high school or graduate not ready for college,"
said Borosage. "New York is experimenting with innovative new approaches to organizing and improving high schools from which we can learn. We want to make sure that every child leaves high school ready for college."

"The achievement gap is the most pressing problem in education today, and no city better illustrates the scope and complexity of the issue than New York," said Levine. "This debate brings a welcome focus to the problem at the high school level, with the promise of offering practical solutions for those on the front lines."

The forums -- held previously in Portland, Oregon; Columbus, Ohio; Albuquerque, New Mexico; St. Louis, Missouri; and Phoenix, Arizona - are geared to a topic of particular local concern. The format is that of a Congressional hearing, with a panel of speakers chosen for the event addressing a task force of leaders from education, business and government. The Task Force was assembled by the Center for American Progress and the Institute for America's Future to help develop recommendations for improving the American education system. The recommendations will incorporate information collected at the forum.

The New York City forum will focus on high schools. New York City educates more public school students than any other urban district in America and more than a majority of the states. The system serves 1,100,000 students, including over 270,000 at the high school level. More than half come from economically disadvantaged families. 

In September, in compliance with the federal No Child Left Behind legislation, the New York State Department of Education announced that 527 schools had missed their targets for achieving "average yearly progress." Of those schools, 347 are in New York City.

The speakers at the New York City event are:

  • Geoffrey Canada, President/CEO of the Harlem Children's Zone Project in New York City, and the author of Fist Stick Knife Gun: A Personal History of Violence in America, and Reaching Up for Manhood. A nationally recognized expert on violence, children and community redevelopment, Canada is the creator of The Beacon School program, which provides support 12 hours a day, 365 days a year to all of the children and families in a 60-block area in Central Harlem.
  • N. Gerry House, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Institute for Student Achievement (ISA), and former superintendent of the Memphis Tennessee City School System. ISA is a not-for-profit organization that works in partnership with high schools to enable at-risk students to stay in school, graduate, and go on to college and the world of work. ISA provides high schools with expert professional development, coaching and support, so that they can sustain a structure and environment conducive to student success; helps create new small high schools; and organizes small learning communities within existing high schools.

David Levin, co-founder of the Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP) with Mike Feinberg, and current Superintendent of the KIPP Academy in the South Bronx. Since 1997, KIPP Academy has been the highest performing public middle school in the entire Bronx as measured by standardized test scores in reading and math, improvement in test scores, and attendance. In the spring of 1999, KIPP was named one of the 25 most effective schools in the nation in low-income communities. As a result, in the spring of 2000, Levin and Feinberg were approached by Don and Doris Fisher, founders of the GAP, to replicate KIPP's success nationwide. Thirty KIPP schools now operate nationally, and it is expected that by 2007, over 20,000 students will attend KIPP.

Dr. Douglas E. Wood, Executive Director of the National Academy for Excellent Teaching at Teachers College, Columbia University, and former Executive Director of the Tennessee State Board of Education. The mission of the Academy is to establish a new national model of effective professional development for high school teachers that significantly and measurably improves the achievement of under-performing and under-served students.  In February 2004, Dr. Wood delivered findings from his report high-stakes testing at the 50th Anniversary of Brown vs. Board of Education in Topeka, Kansas.


·        Dr. Cecilia Cunningham, former principal of Middle College High School at LaGuardia Community College and founding director of the Middle College National Consortium, a network of 26 Middle College High Schools, which provides professional development for secondary and postsecondary educators who work with underserved students. Middle College High School -- the first public high school-college collaborative model - is designed to encourage at-risk youngsters to graduate from high school and go on to college. In 2000, Cunningham collaborated in the creation of the Early College High School model, a special program that allows middle college students to pursue a high school diploma and a two-year associate degree in five years.

Norma Morales, the principal of the Bronx International High School. Bronx International was opened in September 2001 with the sole purpose of serving newly arrived immigrants. Morales was among the school's founders and served as its social worker for three years before becoming this past September. She previously worked at Brooklyn International High School.

The Task Force is co-chaired by Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano; Philip D. Murphy, Senior Director, The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc.; and Roger Wilkins, Professor, History and American Culture, George Mason University.

Published Monday, Dec. 6, 2004

National Education Forum in New York City to Focus on Improving High Schools

--Geoffrey Canada, David Levin and others to speak at Event Co-Hosted by Progressive Leaders John Podesta and Robert Borosage with Teachers College, Columbia University--

NEW YORK, NY - Should New York City continue its policy of creating small high schools within big ones - or has that effort simply drained resources away from institutions that were barely coping to begin with?

How should the City spend the billions of dollars in additional funding it is now expected to receive from the state after a decade of legal battles?

What's the best way to teach teachers how to teach high school students better reading skills?

Is there a model for boosting classroom achievement among poor and minority students to equal that of their wealthier peers - or do so many non-academic factors contribute to that gulf that schools alone are no longer equal to the task?

These are among the questions that will be debated this Friday, December 10th here at Teachers College as part of "Redesigning High Schools for the 21st Century," the sixth and final event in a series of public forums aimed at setting a new national agenda for education. The series has been hosted by former Clinton White House chief of staff John Podesta, President and CEO of the Center for American Progress, and Robert Borosage, President of the Institute for America's Future, as part of their joint project, Renewing Our Schools, Securing Our Future: A National Task Force on Public Education. The New York event - which comes on the heels of the recent landmark school financing judgment in favor of the City -- will be co-hosted by Arthur Levine, President of Teachers College, and will take place from 10 a.m. to noon at the Milbank Chapel on the Teachers College campus at 525 West 120th Street, between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue.

"High schools have become a key focus of efforts to reform America's education system," said Podesta. "Our goal is to pool the recommendations of some of the best minds in the field to create a vision of a better future."

"Too many children drop out of high school or graduate not ready for college,"
said Borosage. "New York is experimenting with innovative new approaches to organizing and improving high schools from which we can learn. We want to make sure that every child leaves high school ready for college."

"The achievement gap is the most pressing problem in education today, and no city better illustrates the scope and complexity of the issue than New York," said Levine. "This debate brings a welcome focus to the problem at the high school level, with the promise of offering practical solutions for those on the front lines."

The forums -- held previously in Portland, Oregon; Columbus, Ohio; Albuquerque, New Mexico; St. Louis, Missouri; and Phoenix, Arizona - are geared to a topic of particular local concern. The format is that of a Congressional hearing, with a panel of speakers chosen for the event addressing a task force of leaders from education, business and government. The Task Force was assembled by the Center for American Progress and the Institute for America's Future to help develop recommendations for improving the American education system. The recommendations will incorporate information collected at the forum.

The New York City forum will focus on high schools. New York City educates more public school students than any other urban district in America and more than a majority of the states. The system serves 1,100,000 students, including over 270,000 at the high school level. More than half come from economically disadvantaged families. 

In September, in compliance with the federal No Child Left Behind legislation, the New York State Department of Education announced that 527 schools had missed their targets for achieving "average yearly progress." Of those schools, 347 are in New York City.

The speakers at the New York City event are:

  • Geoffrey Canada, President/CEO of the Harlem Children's Zone Project in New York City, and the author of Fist Stick Knife Gun: A Personal History of Violence in America, and Reaching Up for Manhood. A nationally recognized expert on violence, children and community redevelopment, Canada is the creator of The Beacon School program, which provides support 12 hours a day, 365 days a year to all of the children and families in a 60-block area in Central Harlem.
  • N. Gerry House, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Institute for Student Achievement (ISA), and former superintendent of the Memphis Tennessee City School System. ISA is a not-for-profit organization that works in partnership with high schools to enable at-risk students to stay in school, graduate, and go on to college and the world of work. ISA provides high schools with expert professional development, coaching and support, so that they can sustain a structure and environment conducive to student success; helps create new small high schools; and organizes small learning communities within existing high schools.

David Levin, co-founder of the Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP) with Mike Feinberg, and current Superintendent of the KIPP Academy in the South Bronx. Since 1997, KIPP Academy has been the highest performing public middle school in the entire Bronx as measured by standardized test scores in reading and math, improvement in test scores, and attendance. In the spring of 1999, KIPP was named one of the 25 most effective schools in the nation in low-income communities. As a result, in the spring of 2000, Levin and Feinberg were approached by Don and Doris Fisher, founders of the GAP, to replicate KIPP's success nationwide. Thirty KIPP schools now operate nationally, and it is expected that by 2007, over 20,000 students will attend KIPP.

Dr. Douglas E. Wood, Executive Director of the National Academy for Excellent Teaching at Teachers College, Columbia University, and former Executive Director of the Tennessee State Board of Education. The mission of the Academy is to establish a new national model of effective professional development for high school teachers that significantly and measurably improves the achievement of under-performing and under-served students.  In February 2004, Dr. Wood delivered findings from his report high-stakes testing at the 50th Anniversary of Brown vs. Board of Education in Topeka, Kansas.


·        Dr. Cecilia Cunningham, former principal of Middle College High School at LaGuardia Community College and founding director of the Middle College National Consortium, a network of 26 Middle College High Schools, which provides professional development for secondary and postsecondary educators who work with underserved students. Middle College High School -- the first public high school-college collaborative model - is designed to encourage at-risk youngsters to graduate from high school and go on to college. In 2000, Cunningham collaborated in the creation of the Early College High School model, a special program that allows middle college students to pursue a high school diploma and a two-year associate degree in five years.

Norma Morales, the principal of the Bronx International High School. Bronx International was opened in September 2001 with the sole purpose of serving newly arrived immigrants. Morales was among the school's founders and served as its social worker for three years before becoming this past September. She previously worked at Brooklyn International High School.

The Task Force is co-chaired by Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano; Philip D. Murphy, Senior Director, The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc.; and Roger Wilkins, Professor, History and American Culture, George Mason University.

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