A Forced March for Failing Schools: Lessons from the New York City Chancellor's District.

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In the mid-nineties, the New York City Schools Chancellor created a citywide improvement zone to take over a significant proportion of the city's lowest performing schools whose local community school districts had failed to improve them. This "Chancellor's District" defined centralized management, rather than local control, as the critical variable necessary to initiate, enforce and ensure the implementation of school improvement. This large-scale intervention involved both a governance change and a set of capacity-building interventions presumably unavailable under local sub-district control. Our study retrospectively examined the origins, structure and components of the Chancellor's District, and analyzed the characteristics and outcomes of the elementary schools mandated to receive these interventions. Our longitudinal analysis compared Chancellor's District schools to New York City's other state-identified low performing schools, based on a school-level panel of performance, demographic, human resource, and expenditure data collected from district Annual School Report Cards and School Based Expenditure Reports from 1998-99 through 2001-02. The results suggest that the Chancellor's District intervention improved these schools' instructional capacity and academic outcomes, both relative to where these schools would have been and relative to comparable schools.


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How to Cite
Phenix, D., Siegel, D., Zaltsman, . A., & Fruchter, . N. (2005). A Forced March for Failing Schools: Lessons from the New York City Chancellor’s District. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 13, 40. https://doi.org/10.14507/epaa.v13n40.2005
Author Biographies

Deinya Phenix, New York University

Deinya Phenix is a Research Scientist at the New York University Institute for Education and Social Policy. Her research interests include urban education policy and social geography.

Dorothy Siegel, New York University

Dorothy Siegel is a Senior Project Director at the New York University Institute for Education and Social Policy. She is currently facilitating the development of a citywide inclusion program for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders in New York City.

Ariel Zaltsman, New York University

Ariel Zaltsman is a Doctoral Candidate in Public Administration at the R.F. Wagner School of Public Service, NYU. His research interests program evaluation, performance-based budgeting, and social policy.

Norm Fruchter, New York University

Norm Fruchter is Clinical Professor of Education Policy at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Education and Director of the Institute for Education and Social Policy. He is co-author of Choosing Equality: The Case for Democratic Schooling and Hard Lessons: Public Schools and Privatization.