Taking the Fear Out of Financial Aid: Making Higher Education Easier to Achieve for NYC Students

Securing college financial aid can be intimidating for NYC students. Aid is crucial for low-income and first generation college students—but they need help, particularly navigating the government’s Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), finding grants and loans and working with college aid offices.

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Improbable Scholars: What Union City, NJ, Can Teach New York City About Public Education

The striking achievement of Union City, N.J. — bringing very poor, mostly immigrant Latino kids into the educational mainstream — argues for reinventing our public schools into caring, hard-working communities. Author David Kirp’s latest book centers on the remarkable success of a school district five miles and a light year away from Washington Square.

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Stronger Schools for NYC: A conversation with City Council Speaker Christine Quinn

How can New York sustain and build on positive changes in public education while fixing what isn’t working in our schools? Council Speaker Quinn discusses her views on building a 21st century school system, including innovations for educational improvement to make sure every child graduates high school ready for college and a good job.

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Beyond Test Scores: Imagining New Ways to Measure NYC's High Schools

What matters most in high school? Graduation rates and Regents test scores? College-oriented academics, supportive teachers - or extra-curricular activities? All of these things matter to students, but inside information is hard to find. There is also intense debate about what makes for a "good" high school and how this can be measured.

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Creating College Ready Communities: Preparing NYC's Precarious New Generation of College Students

The good news is, New York City has seen dramatic increases in students graduating high school and applying to college. The bad news is, most will never get a college degree. This growing generation of college students is frequently stymied by poor academic preparation, financial aid issues or complicated personal lives. Observers say it is not enough to promote college.

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High Stakes Decisions: How NYC Students Have Fared Under High School Choice

New York City’s system of high school choice is the largest in the nation, with students bidding for placement among hundreds of schools. The goal was to let students escape low-performing neighborhood schools, allowing them to compete for a spot in up to 12 schools anywhere in the city. Today, 80 percent of participating students get one of their top five picks. But placement of the city’s most vulnerable students remains controversial.

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Struggling Schools, Hard Times: Teachers, communities and school improvement in a time of fiscal uncertainty

A conversation with Michael Mulgrew, President of the United Federation of Teachers, on turning around struggling public schools and boosting community collaboration. How will educators, parents and the city respond to the state fiscal crisis? And what is the future of school accountability in New York City?

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Putting Principals to the Test: Transforming NYC Schools in the Age of Data-Driven Accountability

The Bloomberg administration has introduced a radical new system of school management, giving principals more freedom in exchange for the promise of better test scores and graduation rates. Crucial to this are new test-based accountability systems, which focus attention on struggling learners. But the traditional oversight by superintendents is gone. Does this strategy build better schools?

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School Food Matters: Hunger, Obesity and Reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act

According to advocates, families of at least 1 in 5 New York City children still rely on soup kitchens and food pantries, despite free school breakfast and subsidized school lunches. President Obama pledged to end child hunger in the US by 2015, and the reauthorization of the federal Child Nutrition Act is expected by September.

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Community Schools: Organizing Community Resources Around Student Success

New York City is home to a variety of “community schools,” public schools that provide an array of health services, social supports and enrichment programs for students and families. U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan has promoted community schools as a strategy for using local resources to improve student success and is encouraging states to expand their numbers.

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Pass or Fail: Whats Next for New York City's High Schools?

New York City’s high schools have undergone a powerful transformation during the Bloomberg years, with more than 200 new small schools and dozens of others closed or reshaped. The city’s education department has introduced school competition, giving families unprecedented choice. But how has all this worked out for the students at-risk of dropping out?

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Class Struggles: Strengthening Schools by Strengthening Families

New York City’s public schools are held accountable for their students’ educational progress. But what happens when problems at home hold students back, or when young children aren’t coming to school? Could the city create a school-based safety net in the lowest-income neighborhoods?

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Who Rules the Schools? Mayoral Control After Bloomberg

When Mayor Michael Bloomberg took office one of his top priorities was to repair the city’s ailing public schools. The state gave him control of the school system five years ago and must soon decide whether to extend that power to future administrations. Are the schools more accountable today? Students and teachers more successful?

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From the Margins to the Mainstream: Responding to Rising Rates of Autism

A fast-growing number of people receiving government-funded developmental disabilities services in New York are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. And in city schools, the number of pupils with autism has increased 72 percent in only five years. How are government, service providers, schools and parents responding?

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Opening the Schoolyard Gates: Reclaiming Urban Community Space

As part of PlaNYC 2030, Mayor Bloomberg has proposed opening 290 city schoolyards to the public during non-school hours. Reclaiming urban community space can strengthen families and neighborhoods, but it's never as easy as "throwing open the gates." What should the city do to ensure that these spaces benefit communities, families, and children?

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Learn English... If You Can: The Shortage of English Classes for NYC's Immigrants

New Yorkers' demand for low-cost English classes vastly outstrips supply. There are far fewer subsidized English classes for adults offered in New York City today than 16 years ago-despite the massive increase in the immigrant population and the fact that English speakers are much more likely to earn a living wage. What are the cultural and economic implications?

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Working Toward a Common Goal: Safety, Discipline and Teaching Teens in NYC Schools

Students with too few credits, who have discipline problems or who lose interest in school often drop out or are placed in alternative programs. Not surprisingly, young people of color are most likely to leave school without a degree and end up in poverty – and sometimes in prison. How can the city’s schools better engage disconnected students?

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Overhauling Sex Ed: The New Curriculum for NYC Schools

New York City has begun to revamp sex education in the public schools, creating a new health curriculum as well as an HIV/AIDS education program. Are the city schools doing all they can to prepare young New Yorkers for safe sexual lives? What do parents, students and teachers think of the changes? How is our city’s experience in keeping with national trends while bucking others?

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Taking Care of New York's Children (II): The Future of Out of School Time

The Bloomberg administration has overhauled its after school policies, consolidating all out of school time programs under the Department of Youth and Community Development and bringing new providers into the mix. The city aims to save money, expand services and improve access in underserved communities.

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