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Betsy Combier

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The E-Accountability Foundation announces the

'A for Accountability' Award

to those who are willing to whistleblow unjust, misleading, or false actions and claims of the politico-educational complex in order to bring about educational reform in favor of children of all races, intellectual ability and economic status. They ask questions that need to be asked, such as "where is the money?" and "Why does it have to be this way?" and they never give up. These people have withstood adversity and have held those who seem not to believe in honesty, integrity and compassion accountable for their actions. The winners of our "A" work to expose wrong-doing not for themselves, but for others - total strangers - for the "Greater Good"of the community and, by their actions, exemplify courage and self-less passion. They are parent advocates. We salute you.

Winners of the "A":

Johnnie Mae Allen
David Possner
Dee Alpert
Aaron Carr
Harris Lirtzman
Hipolito Colon
Jim Calantjis
Larry Fisher
The Giraffe Project and Giraffe Heroes' Program
Jimmy Kilpatrick and George Scott
Zach Kopplin
Matthew LaClair
Wangari Maathai
Erich Martel
Steve Orel, in memoriam, Interversity, and The World of Opportunity
Marla Ruzicka, in Memoriam
Nancy Swan
Bob Witanek
Peyton Wolcott
[ More Details » ]
The NY DOE Chancellor's District was the Most Successful District in the City; Klein Disbanded It; Why?

A Special School District Is Gone, but a Study Cites Its Benefits

A special district under direct control of the New York City schools chancellor made substantial improvements at some of the city's worst public schools, according to a study by researchers at New York University.
Gains in reading scores outpaced similarly low-performing schools that remained in their local community districts, said the researchers' report, which is to be issued today.

The special district, a grouping of troubled schools from around the city known as the Chancellor's District, was created by Chancellor Rudy Crew in 1996 and operated through the 2002-03 school year.

But the current chancellor, Joel I. Klein, then disbanded it as part of a systemwide restructuring that reorganized the city's 32 community districts into 10 instructional regions.

The study, by researchers at N.Y.U.'s Institute for Education and Social Policy, found that from the 1998-99 academic year through 2001-02, the schools in the Chancellor's District fared better than other struggling schools in student achievement and were enhanced in other ways -- like attracting more certified teachers.

''The Chancellor's District intervention significantly increased teacher resources and per-student expenditure across the district's schools and significantly increased the percentage of students meeting the standard on the fourth-grade state reading tests,'' the report states.

In the three school years studied, the percentage of students meeting standards on the statewide fourth-grade reading test rose 17.7 percentage points, while scores in other struggling schools rose 11.9 percentage points, the report said.

The report found no difference in math scores, but it noted that the Chancellor's District had initially focused its efforts on improving literacy and that some gains in math scores were starting to appear.

Among school system insiders, eliminating the Chancellor's District is among the most-debated aspects of the overhaul.

The teachers' union president, Randi Weingarten, a stout critic of the decision to end the Chancellor's District, said yesterday that she found the results of the N.Y.U. study ''both incredibly gratifying and incredibly sad.''

Stephen Morello, a spokesman for Chancellor Klein, said that in the system overhaul, known generally as Children First, the Klein administration was employing some of the same strategies as the Chancellor's District, hoping for gains in reading and math in a larger number of schools.

''The Children First reforms build on this experience by emphasizing the same key factors to which the researchers attribute achievement gains -- staffing schools with licensed teachers and placing an intensive focus on instruction -- while focusing not merely on a small number of schools,'' but on ''the hundreds of under-performing schools in our system,'' Mr. Morello said.

"Virtual District, Real Improvement: A Retrospective Evaluation of the Chancellor's District, 1996-2003"

© 2003 The E-Accountability Foundation