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A Think Twice Review of:

New York City's Children First: Lessons in School Reform

Think Twice - Jun 03, 2014

Publisher/Think Tank - Center for American Progress

Author(s) - Maureen Kelleher

A recent report from the Center for American Progress summarizes and evaluates the public education reforms during the Bloomberg mayoral era in NYC. The report suggests that positive change resulted from the Children First reforms and makes several policy recommendations. The report describes four aspects of reform during the Bloomberg era, and makes recommendations for NYC and other urban districts. It focuses on top-down school reforms from the mayor's office, rather than on instructional changes inside classrooms.

Reviewer(s) - Randal Reback, Barnard College

An academic review finds that the report does an impressive job summarizing the reforms into a single, short narrative. However, several of the claims overhype the success of small high schools and charter schools. In his review, Randall Reback found several misleading claims and endorsements for the success of New York's small school movement. Regarding these claims, he says: "It is thus difficult to separate whether successful small schools were successful due to their ‘smallness' or due to other, correlated factors." He also finds that the report exaggerates student performance outcomes for both charter schools and traditional public schools. For example, he discusses how the report fails to mention concerns about inflated high school graduation rates.