THE CENTER'S PUBLIC PROGRAMS offer community leaders and other participants the opportunity to meet powerful players in and around government, and to learn about the context, the influential organizations and other factors that define the policy making landscape in New York City and urban America.

Join us at our upcoming events

What's Next for Children's Behavioral Health Care?

One in ten children in New York State has a serious emotional disturbance. But the system designed to serve them is chronically overwhelmed: Sick kids sit on waitlists. Mental health and substance abuse clinics struggle to hire pediatric specialists. And providers lose money on Medicaid-funded programs.

The State passed a new budget that offers hope for real reform, expanding Medicaid services designed to catch problems early, serve kids in their communities, and keep them out of institutions. Now it’s time to talk about what’s next.

Speakers include: Donna Bradbury, Associate Commissioner, Division of Integrated Community Services for Children and Families, NYS Office of Mental Health; Marnie Davidoff, Assistant Commissioner, NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygien; Gail Nayowith, Principal of 1digit LLC and Chair, NYCDOHMH Community Services Board; Jennifer Havens, MD, Director and Chief of Service, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Bellevue Hospital Center; Kenton Kirby, Director, Make it Happen and Director, Clinical and Trauma Support Services, Crown Heights Community Mediation Center; and Tonia Spence, Senior Director, Early Childhood Services, The Jewish Board

Future of New York City's Health + Hospitals

On November 15, 2017, The Center for New York City Affairs at The New School and the New York State Nurses Association jointly sponsored a forum on critical issues surrounding the public hospitals of NYC: The Future of New York City's Health + Hospitals Corporation--Preserving and Expanding Access to Care for All New Yorkers.

The forum featured leaders from New York City's hospital and healthcare community. There was a brief presentation by the authors of the new report, "On Restructuring the NYC Health + Hospitals Corporation," by Barbara Caress and James Parrott.

Speakers include: James Knickman, former President of the NYS Health Foundation; Lilliam Barrios-Paoli, former Deputy Mayor and former board chair NYC H+H; Andrea Cohen, NYC H+H Vice President; Jill Furillo, NYSNA President, Jeff Kraut, Northwell Health, Exec. VP.

Tale of Two Cities: Public Housing and Family Poverty in New York and Chicago

Chicago tore down its high-rises, but what did the city do to build up the people who lived there? The New York City Housing Authority has done better than most in providing decent, affordable homes, yet many residents live in deep poverty. Join us for a discussion about public housing and the needs of resident families and children. Panelists will discuss the structural challenges of inequality and racial segregation that continue to isolate public housing communities and efforts to connect residents to opportunity. 

Speakers include: Michael Kelly, General Manager, New York City Housing Authority; Susan J. Popkin, Senior Fellow and Director of the Program on Neighborhoods and Youth Development, The Urban Institute and author of No Simple Solutions: Transforming Public Housing in Chicago; Aixa Torres, President, Alfred E. Smith Resident Association; Alex Schwartz, Professor, The New School; Talib Hudson, PhD student, The New School/Milano; David Garza, Executive Director, Henry Street Settlement

How to Make Our Schools More Integrated (2016)

InsideSchools and the Center for New York City Affairs present findings and recommendations for better socio-economic integration of the city's public elementary schools, with a particular focus on neighborhoods where integration is possible without busing – that is, economically integrated neighborhoods where the schools are segregated. Why have some schools seen their enrollments plummet while others have long wait lists? What can be done to make all schools attractive to a range of parents? A panel of elected officials and Department of Education administrators will respond to our recommendations.

Speakers include: Joshua Wallack, deputy chancellor of strategy and policy, NYC Department of Education; Brad Lander, council member, New York City Council; Voyka Soto, organizer, Power to Harlem Parents; Nicole Rodriguez Leach, head of education, Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation; Shino Tanikawa, president, District 2 Community Education Council; David Van Zandt, president, The New School. The panel was moderated by Clara Hemphill, director of education policy and InsideSchools.

Growing Up NYC (2016)

Growing Up NYC is the City’s first comprehensive policy framework for children and young adults. Deputy Mayor Richard Buery presents the City's agenda, which aims to better coordinate services for young people while also providing clear metrics to measure the risks and well-being of New York City's three million children. Young people, educators, and community leaders will provide their assessments of how children are faring in NYC and what more we can do to ensure the well-being of children and youth.

Other speakers include: Cecilia Clarke, president and CEO, Brooklyn Community Foundation; Angel Diaz, student; Paul Forbes, director, Expanded Success Initiative; Leon Isaacs, student; Jeremy Kohomban, president and CEO, The Children's Village; Benita Miller, executive director, The Children's Cabinet; Kristin Morse, executive director, Center for New York City Affairs; David Van Zandt, president, The New School; and Anne Williams-Isom, CEO, Harlem Children's Zone.

Integration Success Stories (2016)

New York City has been called one of the most segregated school systems in the country, but some schools buck the trend and enroll a mix of children of different races and income levels. InsideSchools visited more than 80 racially and economically integrated elementary schools in the past year. We present our findings about what makes these schools successful, the challenges they face, and the lessons they offer for the rest of the city. A panel of school leaders discuss their experiences with successful integration.

Zipporiah Mills, former principal PS 261, Brooklyn; Victoria Hunt, founding principal, Dos Puentes Elementary School, Manhattan; Clarence Ellis, superintendent, District 17, Brooklyn; Joshua Bloodworth, PTA president, PS11, Brooklyn

Parks Without Borders (2016)

NYC Parks, the Center for New York City Affairs, and the Tishman Environment and Design Center at The New School bring together thought leaders from a range of disciplines to explore the future of parks and public space.

Nature's Benefits - Climate Protection and Inspiration 

Jennifer Greenfeld, Nilda Mesa, Arturo Garcia-Costas, Timon McPhearson, David Seiter


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Hollywood in The New Cold War
The Perpetual Perpetrator: Contemporary Contexts (2016)

It has been twenty-five years since the Soviet Union dissolved and the Cold War ended, yet Russia remains a loyal enemy. Although America and Russia have been allies for the past two decades, these countries always force one another into formulaic cultural imaginations, and Hollywood is by no means innocent. Recent films such as the historical drama Bridge of Spies (2015) further exemplify how little the American perception of the “enemy” has changed. 

Women's Pay Equity: Getting Even (2016)

It is well known that women in the U.S. are paid, on average, 77 cents for every dollar that a man earns. We discuss what is the nature of the pay gap and why does it exist, who is affected the most, and what policy initiatives can be taken to close the gap?

Deborah J Glick, assemblymember, NY State Assembly; Brad Hoylman, senator, NY State Senate; Azadeh Khalili, founding executive director, Commission on Gender Equity, NYC Mayor's Office; Beverly Cooper Neufeld, founder, PowHer New York; Teresa Tritch, editorial board, The New York Times

Bringing It All Home: Problems and Possibilities Facing NYC's Family Child Care (2016)

In 2012, with the advent of EarlyLearnNYC, New York City imposed new quality standards on its licensed, subsidized family child care programs. Over three years in, how has this reform played out? 

Lorelei Vargas, deputy commissioner of early care and education, Administration for Children’s Services; Rhonda Carloss-Smith, associate executive director, Center for Children’s Initiative; Patrice Cuddy, Director of Early Childhood Parent-Child Programs, Westchester Jewish Community Services; Jessica Sager, director, All Our Kin; Sonia Vera, educational director, New Life Child Development Center; Natasha Lifton, senior program officer, children, youth and families, The New York Community Trust

Politics and Policy Series
The New Wild West: Money and the 2016 US Presidential Election (2016)

During the 2016 cycle, the campaign finance system finally and completely jumped the shark. Candidates raised hundreds of millions for SuperPACs which may have as much, if not more, influence over outcomes than the actual campaigns themselves. And yet, at the dawn of the primary season, all this money seemed to matter little. 

Zach Allen, Democratic fundraising consultant; Raj Goyle, Member, Obama 2012 National Finance Committee and former Kansas legislator; Christina Greer, Associate Professor of Political Science, Fordham University; Jack Oliver, Finance Chair, Right to Rise PAC, SuperPAC supporting Jeb Bush; Adam Smith, Communications Director, Every Voice; Ken Vogel, Chief investigative correspondent, POLITICO; Jeff Smith, Assistant Professor, The New School

Rikers Island: Reform It — or Shut it Down? (2015)

The Rikers Island jail complex has become a symbol of criminal justice dysfunction. Last year, The New York Times uncovered 129 serious injuries to inmates. The US Attorney for the Southern District of New York documented widespread abuse and neglect of teenagers in the jail's adolescent unit. And Mayor de Blasio described an environment so toxic that inmates are released “more broken than when they came in.” The City administration has initiated reforms. But a growing number of community groups, advocates and elected representatives say that piecemeal changes are not enough. Their cry is getting louder: Shut Rikers Down.

Neil Barsky, founder and chairman, The Marshall Project; Elizabeth Glazer, director, Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice; Martin Horn, executive director, NYS Sentencing Commission; Khary Lazarre-White, executive director & co-founder, The Brotherhood/Sister Sol; Ann-Marie Louison, co-director of adult behavioral health programs, CASES; Glenn E. Martin, founder and president, JustLeadershipUSA; Charles Nuñez, community advocate, Youth Represent; Carmen Perez, executive director, The Gathering for Justice and co-founder of Justice League NYC; Jeff Smith, assistant professor of politics and advocacy, Milano School for International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy; Scott M. Stringer, comptroller, City of New York; Moderated by Errol Louis, political anchor, NY1 News and host, "Inside City Hall" 

Close Rikers Island? A Five-Minute How-To Guide with Martin Horn (2015) 

In recent days, top City and State elected leaders have made public statements warming to the once seemingly unthinkable idea of closing New York City’s violence- and scandal-scarred jail complex on Rikers Island. At a November 18, 2015 forum about Rikers Island, former City Correction Commissioner Martin Horn offered this succinct, five-minute how-to guide to effectively decommissioning Rikers Island – and producing a City correction system that is more decentralized, efficient, modern, and humane.

Politics and Policy: The Latino Vote and The 2016 US Presidential Election (2015)

No group is more crucial to the outcome of the 2016 presidential election than Latino voters, and no group of voters is more in play than Latinos during this campaign season.  A surge in Latinos of voting age combined with Donald Trump’s polarizing comments about Mexican immigrants have put Latinos at the center of the race for the White House. Next November the ranks of eligible Latino voters will have grown by 4 to 6-million since the 2012 presidential election.

Facing the FAFSA In The Fall:
Will the New Application Process Help or Hurt NYC Students? (2015)

The federal government’s notoriously complicated financial aid process may become simpler for students beginning this fall with a new rule allowing families to use tax information they have in hand from the “prior, prior” year’s returns. Watch a discussion of what the new financial aid rules will bring—and what else we can be doing to make the process easier on low-income families and first-generation college students.

Greg Darnieder, senior advisor to the secretary on the College Access Initiative, U.S. Department of Education; Kristen Harris, director of college readiness supports, NYC Department of Education.; Susan Mead, director of financial aid, Dutchess Community College, SUNY; Allison Palmer, director, College Access Center, New Settlement Apartments; Kevin Stump, northeast regional director, Young Invincibles; Kim Nauer, research director at the Center for New York City Affairs and author of FAFSA: A How-To Guide for High School Students (And the Adults Who Help Them)

Low-Wage NY: Pay Raises and Working New Yorkers (2015)

In July, Governor Cuomo announced plans to raise the minimum wage for fast-food chain employees to $15/hour incrementally over the next few years. And more recently in September, he pledged to campaign for the wage-raise to extend to all hourly workers state-wide. Is a wage increase the best way to help low-income workers in New York? Is the situation in New York City comparable to that of other cities that have begun raising the minimum wage? This event is moderated by Darrick Hamilton, Associate Professor of Economics and Urban Policy and Director of Milano Doctoral Program at The New School. A Nathan Levin Lecture on Public Policy.

Hurricane Sandy +3: Building Resilient Neighborhoods (2015)

Today, as the third anniversary of Sandy’s deadly landfall nears, we ask: What’s the post-storm state of social infrastructure in the areas where the storm hit hardest? Have government agencies and philanthropies seized – or missed – chances to strengthen grassroots groups in the storm’s aftermath? And how can the on-going post-Sandy recovery do more to help local residents increase the sum of opportunity, dignity, and hope in their neighborhoods? 

Klaus Jacob, special research scientist at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory; Onleilove Alston, executive director of Faith in New York; Hugh Hogan, executive director of the North Star Fund; Daniel Zarrilli, director of the Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency; John Rudolph, executive producer of the Feet in 2 Worlds. A Nathan Levin Lecture on Public Policy.

Mr. Smith Goes to Prison: Book Launch (2015)

The fall from politico to prisoner isn't necessarily long, Smith—a former Missouri State Senator—learned, but the landing is a hard one. In 2009, Smith pleaded guilty to charges related to seemingly minor campaign malfeasance and earned himself a year and a day in Kentucky's FCI Manchester. Throughout his sentence, the young Senator tracked the greatest crime of all: the deliberate waste of untapped human potential.

Jeff Smith, Assistant Professor, The New School; Touré, author and MSNBC host;  Soffiyah Elijah,Executive Director of Correctional Association of New York; Dr. Carla Shedd, Columbia University sociologist; Melissa Mark Viverito, New York City Council Speaker

De Blasio Series
Affordable Housing: Rent and Reality (2015)

Mayor de Blasio’s ambitious affordable housing agenda is at the heart of his administration’s pledge to start a new chapter in “a tale of two cities.” In 2015, Albany serves as the rent-regulation battleground but the true impact of this fight will be felt in the five boroughs where more than 2.3 million people live in rent-regulated housing. While proposals to construct new affordable housing continue to garner the most media attention, the mayor’s State of the City address revealed just how dependent his strategy is on preserving the affordability of existing units. What does the battle over rent regulation in the state capital portend for turning de Blasio’s vision into reality? 

The New Civil Rights Agenda: Ben Jealous & Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins (2015)

Ben Jealous, Partner, Kapor Center for Social Impact and Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, Former CEO, Green for All speak on The New Civil Rights Agenda. Through this lens questions such as “How do you build an organized movement for racial justice?” and “How can advocates and community activists effectively use public policy as a tool for advancing a new civil rights agenda?” can be explored. 

De Blasio Series
Reforming Juvenile Justice: Is 'Close to Home' Working? (2015)

Two years ago, New York City launched “Close to Home,” a groundbreaking juvenile justice reform. Its goal: providing group home-like detention for juvenile offenders instead of sending them to scandal-plagued Upstate facilities. Is "Close to Home" living up to its promise?

De Blasio Series
The Low-down on Pre-K from Insideschools (2015)

If your child turns 4 this year, he or she is eligible for free pre-kindergarten, either in a public school or at a site run by a community organization. The de Blasio administration gets an A for effort in its rapid expansion of pre-kindergarten, with more than 30,000 new seats last fall and another 20,000 planned for this coming fall. But what is the quality of these new programs? Even though the city is rapidly expanding free all-day pre-k programs, demand still outstrips supply in many neighborhoods. The staff of Insideschools and a panel of experts will tell you how to find a good program for your child and to navigate the application process.

Racial Disparities and the Criminal Justice System: 
Sam Myers, Jr. and Monifa Bandele (2015)

Sam Myers, Jr., Director and Roy Wilkins Professor of Human Relations and Social Justice, Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota and Monifa Bandele, Senior Campaign Director for frame their comments around the intersection of incarceration, race, policy, and economic inclusion and exclusion.

Race, Higher Education & Social Justice: 
john powell and Noliwe Rooks (2015)

A conversation with john powell, Executive Director of the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society, University of California at Berkeley, and Noliwe Rooks, Director of Graduate Studies in Africana Studies, Cornell University.

Changing Demographics and the Economic Imperative: Manuel Pastor (2015)

This conversation with Manuel Pastor, Director, Program for Environmental and Regional Equity explores questions such as: what are the national demographic shifts and their impact on our country and the economy? What is the “uncommon common ground”? How can policies be used to advance an inclusive agenda that works for all? 

De Blasio Series
Protecting the City's Children from Homelessness (2015)

The de Blasio administration has made reducing family homelessness a key priority. Nevertheless, homeless families spend on average over 400 days in city shelters, and the number of families is near a record high. How can we keep children in city-subsidized shelters safe? How can we use the time they spend in shelter to foster rather than derail their development? How can we support parents who are leaving shelters that may be the only homes their children have known? Clara Hemphill, interim director, Center for New York City Affairs; Christy Parque, executive director, Homeless Services United, Inc.; Janee Harvey, program director for preventative programs, CAMBA; Joyce McMillan, parent organizer, Child Welfare Organizing Project

Van Jones (2015)

Van Jones, President of Dream Corps Unlimited, speaks on “Rebuilding the Dream: Framing Civil Rights for the 21st Century.”

Reflecting on the New York State Governor Race (2014)

The winner was never in doubt, but the seemingly comfortable victory margin belied the drama that took place along the way. This race had more surprises than anyone would have imagined: the Moreland bombshell, Zephyr Teachout's robust primary showing, and RGA Chair Chris Christie's snub of Rob Astorino. What does this election tell us about the state of politics in New York? What does it portend for the next few years in Albany? And does it tell us anything about Cuomo's prospects in a potential presidential bid? 

Clara Hemphill, interim director, Center for NYC Affairs; Kate Albright-Hanna, communications director, Teachout campaign; Alexis Grenell, City & State; Peter Kauffmann, senior advisor, NYS Democratic Committee; Michael Lawler, campaign manager, Astorino campaign; Brian Murphy, CUNY Baruch College; William O'Reilly, consultant, Astorino campaign; Jessica Proud, spokesperson, Astorinio campaign; Zephyr Teachout, Democratic primary candidate; Matt Wing, Cuomo communications director; Rob George, The New York Post

Reflecting on the New York State Senate Race (2014)

New York City can't do anything without permission from Albany. The City can't raise local taxes or even lower speed limits on city streets without the approval of the state legislature, in particular the Republican-dominated Senate. And the legislature can cause the city a lot of grief--as it did when it forced the city to pay the rent of charter schools, undermining mayoral control. That's one reason among many why Mayor de Blasio mobilized resources to support Democratic Senate candidates this year. That effort failed - and now the Independent Democrats appear to have lost nearly all of their leverage. Still, no matter the outcome, Albany seems to be a cesspool of corruption--on both sides of the aisle. Why do the voters continue to re-elect legislators who are under indictment? Was the Moreland Commission doomed from the start - or will the specter of a pending federal investigation into Moreland leads motivate legislators to finally act on ethics reform?

Gerald Benjamin, SUNY New Paltz; Tom Doherty, Mercury strategy firm; Blair Horner, New York Public Interest Research Group; Naomi Konst, The Accountability Project; Ben Lazarus, StudentsFirstNY; Janos Marton, former special counsel, Moreland Commission; David Nir, Daily Kos; Jeff Plaut Democratic pollster; Basil Smikle, Basil Smikle Associates; Jeff Smith, assistant professor of politics and advocacy at The New School and Brigid Bergin, WNYC Radio.

Crossing Broadway:
How Community Activists Rescued Washington Heights from Crime (2014)

How did Washington Heights in New York City emerge from the crime and decay of the crack years? Historian Robert Snyder argues that community activists who crossed racial and ethnic lines played a vital role in restoring order and vitality to ravaged streets in upper Manhattan, only to see the fruits of their labors threatened by growing economic inequality. 

Michael Powell, reporter, New York Times; Robert W. Snyder, author, Crossing Broadway; associate professor of American studies and journalism, Rutgers University-Newark; Led Black, Dominican-American writer-blogger, Uptown Collective; Dave Crenshaw, president, Uptown Dreamers Alumni Association; Victoria Neznansky, chief program officer, YM/YWHA of Washington Heights and Inwood

Ferguson in Black and White: A Discussion (2014)

A discussion of the recent events in Ferguson, MO – the aftermath of the death of Michael Brown, the Grand Jury decision not to indict the police officer involved in the shooting, and the tensions of racial and class inequality simmering and boiling over in St. Louis and other cities across the U.S. 

Milano Professor Jeff Smith -- St. Louis native and author of the new e-book Ferguson in Black & White; Joel Anderson, senior national reporter at Buzzfeed; Justyn Richardson, treasurer of the New Black School; and Robin Hayes, assistant professor of Nonprofit Management and Urban Policy at The New School.

Missing Link: What Absenteeism and Risk Load Reveal About NYC's Lowest-Income Schools (2014)

Mayor Bill de Blasio will unveil 45 new community schools this month in a much-touted effort to help low-income students. But which schools need the most help? And what kind of supports will have the greatest impact? A new report by the Center for New York City Affairs explores these questions in elementary schools, documenting how high absenteeism rates and community challenges can bedevil schools in low-income neighborhoods. We propose a new measure of poverty, designed to identify the highest needs schools, and discuss what should come next in the mayor's bid to reduce poverty's effects on students. 

Richard Buery, deputy mayor for strategic policy initiatives, City of New York; Rudy Crew, president, Medgar Evers College, City University of New York; Kevin Dahill-Fuchel, executive director, Counseling in Schools; Patricia Mitchell, principal, PS 48, William Wordsworth; Sheena Wright, president and CEO, United Way of New York City; Kim Nauer, education research director, Center for New York City Affairs.

Raise the Age: Changing Youth Justice in New York City (2014)

New York is one of just two states in the country that automatically treats 16- and 17-year-olds as adults in the criminal justice system. In recent years, advocates and legislators—including the state’s chief judge—have pushed to raise the age of criminal responsibility to 18. Now, in the midst of a national scandal over the treatment of adolescents at the Rikers Island Jail, we convene the experts for a discussion of the movement to Raise the Age: How will the influx of adolescents impact the city’s newly reformed juvenile justice programs? How can the system ensure that 16- and 17-year-olds get their best shot at success?

Hon. Edwina Richardson-Mendelson, administrative judge, New York County Family Court; Commissioner Ana Bermudez, NYC Department of Probation; Sonja Okun, founder + executive director, exalt; Soffiyah Elijah, executive director, Correctional Association of New York; Kevin Williams, participant, exalt; Charles Nunez, community advocate, Youth Represent; Abigail Kramer, associate editor, Center for New York City Affairs, The New School.

Ferguson + Staten Island: the Roots, the Reality, and the Response (2014)

This summer marked a turning point in community and police relationships in two very different cities. With the media focus on the tragic deaths of Eric Garner and Mike Brown, people across the country have begun to reflect on the complex relationships that communities often have with police, and on the underlying causes of these deaths.

In this discussion, law enforcement, policy makers, advocates, journalists, and community leaders will come together to explore the events in Ferguson -- and ask how New York and other cities are responding. What political and economic conditions in Ferguson and minority communities nationally underlie the anger that exploded in Ferguson? What kinds of policy changes are necessary to prevent more tragedies from occurring - and to prevent continued escalation of tension between police departments and minority communities? And how do we go about making this policy change happen?

Rembert Browne, staff writer, Grantland; Patricia Bynes, committeewoman, Ferguson township; Peter Coy, economics editor, Bloomberg Businessweek; Eugene O’Donnell, lecturer, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY; Vincent Warren, executive director, Center for Constitutional Rights; Jeff Smith, assistant professor of politics and advocacy, The New School

High School Choice: Busting Myths (2014)

Clara Hemphill, the staff of Insideschools and other experts bust common high school myths. 

The Mayoral Agenda: Affordable Housing and Historic Preservation (2014)

Historic Districts Council and the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation are working together to present a panel discussion about affordable housing and historic preservation. With the mayor's plans for affordable housing given such a focus as well as the multitude of articles written about these two topics together, we thought that it was an appropriate time for public discussion about it. The program will feature a mix of community and affordable housing advocates, civic leaders and preservationists. 

Hon. Gale Brewer, Manhattan Borough President; Harvey Epstein, project director, Community Development Project, Urban Justice Center; NYC Rent Guidelines Board Member; Nadine Maleh, director, Inspiring Places program at Community Solutions; Rachel Meltzer, assistant professor of urban policy, The New School; Andrew Berman, executive director, Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation

Coming to the Table: Immigrant Women and Food (2014)

Learn how immigrant women support their families, create community and maintain culture in a new country—through cooking, growing, selling, shopping for, and serving food.

Grace Young, award-winning cookbook author; Nadege Fleurimond, chef and author; Jessica Chakraborty, community & culinary manager, The League of Kitchens’; Barbara Sibley, chef & owner, La Palapa restaurant, and cookbook author 

Surveillance City: The War on Drugs in Urban Neighborhoods (2014)

The War on Drugs has created a powerful surveillance state in America's most disadvantaged neighborhoods. High-tech techniques criminalize entire blocks and transform informal community networks into liabilities for local residents as police use family relationships to demand information, pursue suspects and threaten incarceration. The presumption of criminality takes a relentless toll.

Alice Goffman, assistant professor of sociology, University of Wisconsin-Madison; author, On the Run: Fugitive Life in an American City; Jamelle Bouie, politics, policy, and race reporter, Slate; Jeff Smith, assistant professor of politics and advocacy, Milano School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy, The New School

Big Dreams for New York's Youngest Children (2014)

With the creation of EarlyLearnNYC in 2012, New York City reinvented its system for subsidized early care and education for children from low-income families. Officials sought to ensure high quality, developmentally smart care--but a string of financial and logistical hurdles posed difficulties for many of the nonprofit organizations that run these programs. Today, some thrive while others have lost their contracts or struggle to remain open. Now, as the city launches an expanded Pre-K network for 4-year-olds, what will happen to subsidized child care for younger kids? Can the reform vision of EarlyLearn be put fully into action, and sustained? A conversation with experts in the field, and the release of findings from a new Center for New York City Affairs report on early care and education.

Steve Barnett, director, National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University; Maria Benejan, associate commissioner, Division of Early Care and Education at New York City Administration for Children's Services; Takiema Bunche-Smith, education director, Brooklyn Kindergarten Society; Gregory Brender, policy analyst, United Neighborhood Houses; Maria Contreras-Collier, executive director, Cypress Hills Child Care Corporation; Abigail Kramer, associate editor, Center for New York City Affairs

Youth Justice, Police and NYC's Neighborhoods (2014)

There's been a sea change in New York City juvenile justice policy and police practices over the last two years: Courts now place most teen delinquents in city programs close to home, rather than upstate; and police have sharply reduced the use of stop and frisk, a tactic that overwhelmingly targeted young men of color. Policymakers in the new administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio seek to drive change even further, to improve police-community relations and strengthen juvenile justice programs while also securing public safety. 

Gladys Carrion, commissioner, NYC Administration for Children's Services; Joanne Jaffe, bureau chief, New York Police Department; Chino Hardin, field trainer/organizer, Center for NuLeadership on Urban Solutions; Gabrielle Prisco, director, Juvenile Justice Project, Correctional Association of New York; Chris Watler, project director, Harlem Community Justice Center at Center for Court Innovation; Andrew White, director, Center for New York City Affairs, The New School

Grassroots Politics: From Brooklyn to the White House (2014)

The same type of grassroots politics that gave Mayor de Blasio his start helped turn a little-known, freshman senator from Chicago's South Side into the President of the United States. Learn how from Mitch Stewart, who, as Obama's 2008 Iowa caucus director and 2012 battleground states director, helped oversee the campaign's field operations in its most critical contests. 

Mitch Stewart, founding partner, 270 Strategies; Zakiyah Ansari, advocacy director, NY State Alliance for Quality Education; Michael Blake, principal, Atlas Strategy Group; Susan Lerner, executive director, Common Cause New York; Jeff Smith, assistant professor, The New School

The City & The State: Conflict or Collaboration? (2014)

A discussion on whether tension is inevitable between Albany and NYC or it is just that there's a new mayoral administration and an election-year governor, and press and politicos are shining the spotlight in search of every conflict. As Mayor de Blasio seeks to fulfill campaign promises and pursue the agenda that got him elected, a popular Governor Cuomo has his own program to fulfill. Will the city and state collaborate? Or will diverging fiscal and political priorities cause more conflict, more publicly than in the past?

Michael Benjamin, political columnist, New York Post; former NYS Assemblyman (D-Bronx); Thomas Kaplan, political reporter, The New York Times; Michael Powell, columnist, The New York Times; Liz Krueger, New York State Senator (D-Manhattan)

Financial Aid: Making Higher Education Easier to Achieve for NYC Students (2014)

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. Experts say the system is needlessly complicated and should be reformed. Watch a discussion about what needs to happen nationally and locally to ensure that the next generation of college students can afford to matriculate.

Judith Scott-Clayton, Assistant Professor of Economics and Education, Teachers College, Columbia University; Robert Gevertzman, Associate Director of Financial Aid, Kingsborough Community College, CUNY; Sandy Jimenez, Guidance Trainer and College Access Counselor, Goddard Riverside's Options Institute; Julieta Schiffino, Associate Director of Financial Aid Services, SUNY; Adam Stevens, College Adviser for Scholarships and Financial Aid, Brooklyn Technical High School

The Future of Public Housing in for New York City:
What Washington's New Vision Means for New York City (2013)

The federal government is moving steadily away from permanent housing supports to new models. What's Washington's vision, and how does it affect New York, where public housing has long provided residential stability for families and economic vitality for neighborhood businesses? 

David Gilmore, HUD-appointed administrative receiver, Housing Authority of New Orleans; Rosie Mendez, member, New York City Council, District 2 (Lower East Side); Damaris Reyes, executive director, Good Old Lower East Side; tenant advocate, Baruch Houses Tenant Association; Julia Vitullo-Martin, senior fellow, Regional Plan Association; director, Center for Urban Innovation; Emily Youssouf, vice-chair, New York City Housing Authority; Errol Louis, NY1 News

The Future of Progressive States: Policies to Create Jobs and Expand Opportunities (2013)

Maryland Governor and former Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley discusses how states can secure the middle class and promote new and shared prosperity. Progressive state and local governments strive to build economies that create jobs, boost incomes, foster educational opportunity and strengthen government's fiscal base. With continued congressional gridlock, the progressive agenda for these laboratories of democracy is more important than ever. Followed by a conversation with: Matt Yglesias, economics writer, Slate; Hector Figueroa, president, 32BJ Service Employees International Union; Jeff Smith, assistant professor, The New School.

Child Welfare Watch Forum
Baby Steps: Poverty, Chronic Stress & New York's Youngest Children (2013)

Increasingly, research shows that innovative, early-life work with infants, toddlers and their parents can help prevent the need for much more costly interventions later on. Can we reduce the likelihood of abuse, neglect and mental illness in stressed-out, low-income families? What kinds of targeted interventions are working? And how should government and nonprofits respond? 

Jack P. Shonkoff, M.D., FAMRI professor of child health and development, Harvard School of Public Health; Linda Lausell Bryant, executive director, Inwood House; Susan Chinitz, professor of clinical pediatrics, Albert Einstein College of Medicine; Piazadora Footman, parent; editorial assistant at Rise; Benita Miller, deputy commissioner of family permanency services, NYC Administration for Children's Services; Andrew White, director, Center for New York City Affairs, The New School

A conversation with Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio: 
Laying the Foundation for Greatness (2013)

How can city government overcome the divide that has made New York a Tale of Two Cities? Public Advocate Bill de Blasio discusses his vision for addressing the pervasive issues of social inequality and economic disparity, and proposes policy innovations in economic development for the future of New York City. Remarks by: Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, followed by a discussion with: Andrew White, director, Center for New York City Affairs

Improbable Scholars: What Union City Can Teach New York City (2013)

What does it take to give students a first-rate 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. Preschool for all, dual language training, "word-soaked classrooms" and strong parent partnerships have all helped make the difference there. What about in New York City? 

David Kirp, professor of public policy, University of California-Berkeley; Clara Hemphill, founder,, and senior editor, Center for New York City Affairs at The New School; Natalia Mehlman Petrzela, assistant professor of history and co-chair of education studies, Eugene Lang College The New School for Liberal Arts

Brushes with the Law: Young New Yorkers, Neighborhoods and the Criminal Justice System (2013)

The city has overhauled its juvenile justice system to keep more young people out of confinement and in their communities. In the process, officials, organizers and providers also aim to strengthen families and neighborhoods. How can city government engage communities and tap into the strengths of local groups that work with teens and families? Will community organizations find resources to participate? And how can families and residents hold the juvenile justice system accountable so that it does not repeat old mistakes?

Vincent N. Schiraldi, commissioner, NYC Department of Probation; Ronald E. Richter, commissioner, NYC Administration for Children's Services; Ruben Austria, founder and executive director, Community Connections for Youth; Sharieff Clayton, program coordinator, CASES; Jaime T. Koppel, director of youth and education justice, Children's Defense Fund-New York; Cynthia Armijo, executive director, Boys Town New York; Andrew White, director, Center for New York City Affairs at The New School

NYCHA and the Hurricane: Public Housing Learns from Sandy (2013)

The wrenching experience of thousands of New York's public housing residents following Hurricane Sandy revealed vulnerabilities of physical structures and human services. Volunteers, tenant associations, social service providers and NYCHA technicians all stepped in to do what they could through the worst of the aftermath. What did we learn? What about next time? What will a carefully planned and managed disaster response look like in New York City's low-lying, low-income neighborhoods?

John Rhea, chairman, New York City Housing Authority (NYHCA); Wally Bazemore, Red Hook community organizer; Jennifer Jones Austin, executive director, Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies; Eric Klinenberg, professor of sociology, NYU and New Yorker contributor; Constantine Kontokosta, founding director, NYU Center for the Sustainable Built Environment; Andrew White, director, Center for New York City Affairs at The New School

Can You Replicate the Obama Strategy?: Technology, Social Science, and the Campaign Revolution (2013)

Political campaigns have revolutionized the way they target, contact and motivate supporters. Strategists are taking the insights of experimental social science and marrying them to the corporate world's Big Data marketing tools. The Obama Campaign won in large part by using statistical modeling techniques to identify persuadable voters and to fine-tune persuasive messages. This is politics today and in the future—not only for elections but on issue campaigns for education reform, health care, the environment, labor rights and beyond. Who are the pioneers? And how might you apply their the strategies?

Maggie Haberman, senior political writer, POLITICO; Sasha Issenberg, reporter, Slate, and author of The Victory Lab: The Secret Science of Winning Campaigns; Jonathan Rosen, principal and co-founder, BerlinRosen; Jeff Smith, assistant professor, Milano School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy; Blake Zeff, political strategist, writer and commentator

The Inside Story of the 2012 Election (2012)

The 2012 election lacked the high drama of 2008, when Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama made history, Sarah Palin went meteoric, and the economy was in freefall. In contrast, the 2012 campaigns may be remembered as a succession of mini-gaffes and hourly skirmishes fueled by over-caffeinated operatives and reporters on Twitter. Was it all just "sound and fury... signifying nothing?" Or did the trivia obscure real changes in politics—and the way politics are covered? For instance, how have regional demographic shifts changed the electoral map for the President and Congress? How has technology transformed campaign coverage for better and worse? And how has all of this affected Washington's ability to grapple with issues that matter?

Peter Hamby, political reporter, CNN; Ben Smith, editor-in-chief, BuzzFeed; Molly Ball, staff writer, The Atlantic; Sayu Bhojwani, founding executive director, The New American Leaders Project; David Catanese, reporter, Politico

NYC 1972-2012: Forty Years of Change and Continuity (2012)

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of The New School's graduate program in Urban Policy Analysis and Management, scholars and policymakers discuss our city's evolution since the early 1970s. Neighborhoods have been revived and rebuilt, migrations have transformed the five boroughs, local government has gone from the edge of insolvency to a steadier state. Yet the New York of 1972 is strikingly similar to the city of today, with complex problems, relentless development and a lasting culture of activist government, philanthropy, advocacy and social justice. What are the challenges of today in comparison to those of the past? How can policy decisions made over the past 40 years influence the city's future?

John Mollenkopf, director of the Center for Urban Research, CUNY; Lilliam Barrios-Paoli, commissioner of the New York City Department for the Aging (DFTA); Marc Jahr, president of the New York City Housing Development Corporation; Liz Krueger, NYS Senator for the 26th Senate District (D, WF); Roberto Ramirez, former New York State Assemblyman for the 78th Assembly District (D); Fred Siegel, senior fellow, Progressive Policy Institute

What Will Unlock the Latino Vote in 2012? (2012)

Latino voters are expected to play a pivotal role in the presidential election, just as they did in 2008. This town hall event will explore the tensions in the complex relationship that has evolved between the Latino electorate and the presidential candidates. Will economic concerns such as unemployment and housing foreclosures guide at the voting booth? Will the candidates' immigration policies dominate? Or will large numbers of Latinos simply sit out this election? Understanding the political cross-currents buffeting Latinos today will provide valuable insight on the probable outcome of the election, as well as political and policy implications for the nation over the next four years. 

María Hinojosa, moderator/host, journalist, Futuro Media Group; Jordan Fabian, journalist, political editor for Univision's English-language website; Chung Wha Hong, executive director, New York Immigration Coalition; Mark Hugo Lopez, associate director, Pew Hispanic Center; Fernand Amandi, managing partner, Bendixen and Amandi Intl.

Urban Policy in an Era of Fiscal Austerity (2012)

With the federal debt at $16 trillion, the fate of the nation's cities stands at a crossroads. While cities like New York appear to be doing better than ever, a rising tide of poverty and inequality threatens to undermine their progress. Meanwhile, a large group of second-tier cities, from Detroit and St. Louis to Stockton and San Bernardino, are besieged as never before. How will the mushrooming national debt and looming federal austerity regime affect these trends? Will austerity exacerbate the division between successful and struggling cities?

Gavin Newsom, Lieutenant Governor of the State of California; former mayor of San Francisco; Robert Doar, Commissioner, New York City Human Resources Administration; Catherine Rampell, founder and editor, Economix blog, The New York Times; Daniel Lurie, CEO and founder, Tipping Point; Jeff Smith, assistant professor, Urban Policy, Milano School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy

Beyond Test Scores: New Ways to Measure NYC's High Schools (2012)

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.

Charissa Fernandez, chief operating officer, The After-School Corporation (TASC); Robert Hughes, president, New Visions for Public Schools; Martin Kurzweil, senior executive director for Research, Accountability and Data, NYC DOE; Miriam Nightengale, principal, Columbia Secondary School for Math, Science & Engineering; Jacqueline Wayans, Bronx parent leader,; Clara Hemphill,

Creating College Ready Communities (2012)

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. Schools and communities need a radical new approach. The Center for New York City Affairs will release an analysis of NYC's school and community-based college readiness efforts. What must happen if we want more students to succeed?

Professor David Conley, University of Oregon College of Education; director of the Center for Educational Policy Research, and author; Richard Alvarez, director of admissions, City University of New York; Fernando Carlo, director, Sistas & Brothas United, Urban Youth Collaborative; Shael Polakow-Suransky, chief academic officer, NYC Department of Education; Sheena Wright, president and CEO, Abyssinian Development Corporation; Meredith Kolodner,

No Way to Pay: What's next for homeless families in NYC? (2012)

New York's homeless population is near an all time high, with more than 40,000 New Yorkers living in shelters — including 16,500 children and their parents. Amid the fiscal crunch, New York City and State recently ended a unique rent subsidy program that helped thousands move out of shelters and into apartments, and new federal rent subsidies are nowhere to be found. The search is on for new housing alternatives.  

Seth Diamond, Commissioner of New York Department of Homeless Services; Michael Powell, Gotham Columnist, New York Times; Catherine Trapani, HousingLink Director at New Destiny Housing; Patrick Markee, Senior Policy Analyst at Coalition for the Homeless; Steve Banks, Chief Attorney at Legal Aid Society of New York

The Anatomy of Campaign Finance: Money's powerful influence on US politics and policy (2012)

The power of campaign donations to shape political decisions is front and center in the 2012 presidential election. Citizens United, the Supreme Court decision that allowed corporations, mega-donors and unions to invest vast resources in candidates' campaigns, has been called an undemocratic giveaway to social and economic elites. Does their growing electoral power undermine the public interest, or simply increase the public visibility of candidates' messages and influence? What are the long-term implications for our political culture and public policy? And what are the prospects for meaningful change?

Jacob Hacker, director of the Institution for Social and Policy Studies and professor of political science at Yale University; Joseph Hagan, contributing writer to Vanity Fair and New York magazine; Jeff Smith, assistant professor, Milano School of International Affairs, Management and Urban Policy

Combating Youth Violence (2012)

Tensions and distrust remain high between law enforcement officials and community members - especially young people. Leaders in other cities have shown that youth, communities, and law enforcement can work together for successful solutions. What strategies are already working, and how can we make them stronger? 

David Kennedy, director of the John Jay Center for Crime Prevention and Control; Reean Charles, Youth Organizing to Save Our Streets (Y.O.S.O.S.); Melissa Mark-Viverito, Council Member, District 8, New York City Council; Iesha Sekou, Executive Director, Street Corner Resources; Errol Louis, Host, NY1's Inside City Hall

Public Elementary School: How to Apply (2012) is a project of the Center for New York City Affairs at The New School and was founded as a project of Advocates for Children of New York (AFC), a non-profit education advocacy organization focusing on the city's public schools. AFC launched the site in 2002 to provide an independent source of information on the public school system, with expert, qualitative reviews on every public and charter school. Since that time, project staff and volunteers have reviewed more than 1500 schools and provided information to nearly 900,000 visitors a year.

Clara Hemphill, the staff of Insideschools, and other experts answers questions about: What to look for in an elementary school; How and when to register; Programs for gifted and talented students; Special education; English as a second language; Charter schools

The Detention Dilemma: Families, Security and Immigrant Rights (2012)

Recent reports draw attention to the continuing expansion and privatization of immigrant detention centers and the violation of immigrants' rights throughout the process of detention and deportation. What are the effects of the current situation on individuals who spend months or years in detention, and on their families? Can the detention system do a better job of balancing the country's core values as a nation of immigrants and promoter of human rights with concerns regarding the enforcement of existing laws and enhancing border security?

Valeria Fernandez, independent journalist; Amy Gottlieb, attorney and program director, Immigrant Rights Program at the American Friends Service Committee; Maria Hinojosa of the FRONTLINE documentary Lost in Detention; President & CEO, Futuro Media Group; Jackie Vimo, director of Advocacy, New York Immigration Coalition; John Rudolph, executive director, Feet in Two Worlds

Against the Falling Tide: Working Families and the Economy (2011)

As the impact of recession lingers, low-income and working-class Americans struggle against the economic tide. Wages are declining and employment is stagnant. The upcoming 2012 elections only add to the uncertainty. What are the economic prospects for working families in New York and around the country? An insider's experience of White House strategy and policy debates helps us make sense of the last two years, the coming 12 months, and beyond. Featuring Jared Bernstein, senior fellow, Center for Budget and Policy Priorities and former executive director of the White House Task Force on the Middle Class.

DREAM Activists and the Immigrant Rights Movement (2011)

Tens of thousands of youth graduate high school each year in the US with an inherited title: "undocumented immigrant." Passage of the DREAM Act would make many undocumented young people legal residents, start them on a path to citizenship and make them eligible for financial aid if they finish college or serve in the military. While Congress considers—and delays—passage, legislators in states nationwide are debating and passing measures of their own. And a new generation of activists are "outing" themselves as undocumented Americans, giving the immigrant rights movement a new, more aggressive face. What is the status of the national DREAM Act campaign, and those being pursued state-by-state? Are the new activist strategies proving effective? And what are the political implications of young, undocumented immigrants taking a central role in the movement for immigrant rights?

Jose Antonio Vargas, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and Founder, Define American; Aswini Anburajan, Independent Journalist, Feet In Two Worlds; Natalia Aristizabal, Make the Road New York; Adey Fisseha, Policy Attorney, National Immigration Law Center; Tania Mattos, New York State Youth Leadership Council; John Rudolph, Executive Producer, Feet In Two Worlds; Fatima Shama, Commissioner, Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs

Community-Based Planning: The Future of Development in New York (2011)

For decades, deliberations over land use in New York City have included developers, community boards, elected officials, and city agencies such as the Department of City Planning. Do the people who live and work in city neighborhoods have a sufficient voice? Do residents improve the process or impede progress? Who is best positioned to determine a neighborhood's needs, and what are the best structures for public participation? What does the future hold for the city as it recovers from the current recession?

Scott Stringer, Manhattan Borough President; Richard W. Eaddy, Vice Chairman, City Planning Commission and Senior Managing Director, Studley Inc; Paul Graziano, Principal, Associated Cultural Resource Consultants; Jarrett Murphy, Editor, City Limits; Julia Vitullo Martin, Director, Center for Urban Innovation, Regional Plan Association (RPA); David Shuffler, Executive Director, Youth Ministries for Peace and Justice

Cuomo and the Media: Managing the Message (2011) 

Governor Andrew Cuomo has kept a tight rein on his public image and his administration's agenda. His strategic successes in the legislature have been substantial, but critics say the popular governor is proving to be no great advocate of transparency in the executive branch. How has the governor sold his agenda to the legislature, the people, and the mass media? What is his relationship with the press corps?

Wayne Barrett, investigative reporter and fellow at The Nation Institute; Liz Benjamin, host, Capital Tonight, YNN; Nicholas Confessore, reporter for The New York Times; Karen DeWitt, Capitol bureau chief, New York State Public Radio; Steve Greenberg, pollster, Siena Research Institute

Public Pensions: What's the Real Story? (2011)

Conventional wisdom blames generous public-sector pensions for state and local budget deficits and for diverting funds from other essential services. Amid demands that officials roll back pension promises, it's clear the problem--and possible solutions--are not nearly so simple. What's at stake for retirement security and government fiscal stability? A conversation about the history, purpose, costs and benefits of public pensions.

Richard Ravitch, former Lt. Governor, New York State; Ross Eisenbrey, Vice President, Economic Policy Institute; E.J. McMahon, Director, Empire Center for New York State Policy; Michael Mulgrew, President, United Federation of Teachers; Errol Louis, NY1

High Stakes Decisions: How NYC's Students Have Fared Under High School Choice (2011)

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. And the act of choosing schools is often overwhelming for families. New York University professor Sean Corcoran recently completed ground-breaking analysis of the choices students make -- and where they are ultimately placed. He will report on the trends and offer front-line observations from other scholars in New York.

Sean Corcoran, associate professor, New York University; Arlen Benjamin-Gomez, staff attorney, Advocates for Children; Carol Boyd, Bronx parent, New Settlement Apartments Parent Action Committee; Robert Sanft, Chief Executive Officer - Office of Student Enrollment, New York City Department of Education; Carolyn Sattin Bajaj, doctoral candidate, New York University; Clara Hemphill, Center for New York City Affairs and

The Painful Price of Medicaid (2011)

The fast-rising cost of Medicaid is one of the most pressing issues facing the governments of New York City and New York State. One in four New Yorkers is served by this system of insurance, which now costs an average of $1 billion per week. Health care for low-income people and long-term care for disabled and older people is more expensive than ever. Medicaid costs are growing faster than the state's budget, and this gap is widening. Governor Andrew Cuomo's new Medicaid Redesign Team made recommendations that would result in nearly $3 billion in savings. With those recommendations now made public, what is the future of Medicaid in New York? And what are the implications for New York City's families?

Jason Helgerson, Medicaid director, State of New York; Robert Doar, commissioner NYC Human Resources Administration; Alyssa Aguilera, community organizer, New York Lawyers for the Public Interest; Elizabeth Lynam, vice president, Citizens Budget Committee; Barbara Lyons, Director of The Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, Kaiser Family Foundation; Anemona Hartocollis, reporter, the New York Times

Marijuana, Law Enforcement and Young New Yorkers (2011)

According to the New York Division of Criminal Justice Services, 70 percent of the 50,383 arrests for possession of marijuana in New York City in 2010 were of young people under thirty, and 86 percent of those arrested were black and Latino. The debate on the classification of marijuana possession as a crime is heating up nationwide, even as the number of arrests in New York has risen. Many substance abuse professionals, public officials, and community anti-crime activists support a drug enforcement strategy that includes "broken windows" policing and drug treatment. Others question whether this is worth the cost, including the criminal convictions that can damage young people's prospects for education and jobs. Is it time for change, or not?

Dan Donovan, Staten Island District Attorney; Oma S. Holloway, director of career services, The Door - A Center of Alternatives; Noah Kass, LMSW and clinical director, Realization Center, Inc; Jenay Nurse, staff attorney, Bronx Defenders; Gabriel Sayegh, New York State director, Drug Policy Alliance; Cindy Rodriguez, WNYC

Parent Advocates in the Child Welfare System: Parts I and II (2011) 

Parent advocates are trained to support birth parents as they navigate the city's complicated child welfare system. Research suggests they can help parents successfully move their child welfare cases forward. In June 2009, the Parent Advocate Initiative (PAI) was created to administer citywide support programs for supervisors of Parent Advocates in foster care agencies. What lessons can be garnered from the experiences of child welfare agencies and parent advocates in the PAI program? What challenges do parent advocates face within New York City's child welfare system? How much value do parent advocates add to the child welfare practice? Watch Part II 

Commissioner John Mattingly, New York City Administration for Children's Service; Commissioner Gladys Carrión, New York State Office of Children and Family Services; Jim Purcell, executive director, Council of Family and Child Caring Agencies

Foster Teens in Transition (2011)

For years, rates of homelessness among the city's former foster youth have remained stubbornly high. The city is connecting more teens to families, keeping more of them out of foster care in the first place, and developing new programs for pregnant and parenting foster teens. But for those remaining in foster and group homes, resources are being cut. Can NYC meet the needs of teens still in care, and those who have recently left? Are young people leaving foster care better prepared for adulthood today than they were a decade ago?

Linda Lausell Bryant, executive director, Inwood House; Priti Kataria, ACT (Adolescents Confronting Transition) director, Lawyers for Children; Theresa Nolan, division director NYC Programs, Green Chimneys; Rosetta Savana, participant, Nurse-Family Partnership; Maryanne Schretzman, family services coordinator, Office of Deputy Mayor Linda Gibbs; Lorraine Stephens, Deputy Commissioner for Family Permanency Services, NYC Administration for Children's Services; Andrew White, director, Center for New York City Affairs

The Just City: Equality, Social Justice and Growth (2011)

Mayors and city governments want to promote economic growth to fill coffers, pay for services and raise incomes. But what about growth that corrects social injustices like persistent inequality, racial and ethnic segregation? Can growth instead be harnessed to support equality, diversity and a higher quality of life for everyone? Harvard Professor Susan Fainstein speaks about her new book, The Just City, bridging progressive ideas of justice with the practical work of planners and urban policymakers. Her talk will be followed by a discussion about fairness and justice in New York social policy and planning.

Susan Fainstein, author, The Just City; Chung-Wha Hong, executive director, New York Immigration Coalition; Kenneth Knuckles, vice chair, New York City Planning Commission; Brad Lander, member, New York City Council, District 39; Andrew White, director, Center for New York City Affairs

Struggling Schools, Hard Times (2011)

A conversation with Michael Mulgrew, President of the United Federation of Teachers, on turning around struggling public schools and boosting community collaboration. Some of the issues discussed include: 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? With Juan Gonzalez, New York Daily News; Clara Hemphill,; Errol Louis, NY1 News

The Politics of Development: Moynihan Station and the Complexity of Major Public Projects (2010)

Nearly 400,000 people use Penn Station every day, twice as many as used it when it was built. In 1993, the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan proposed the conversion of the Farley Post Office building into a new Penn Station. Despite longstanding support from nearly every stakeholder, the project is only now ready to break ground 20 years later. What was behind the delays? Why are delays inherent to so many major public development projects? Are there lessons to be learned here for future planning? What are the prospects for the transformation of Manhattan's far west side?

Timothy Gilchrist, president, Moynihan Station Development Corporation; Christopher O. Ward, executive director, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey; Vishaan Chakrabarti, director, Real Estate Development Program, Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation at Columbia University; Anna Hayes Levin, commissioner, New York City Planning Commission and former member, Manhattan Community Board No. 4; Juliette Michaelson, senior planner, Regional Plan Association; Tokumbo Shobowale, chief of staff, Office of NYC Mayor for Economic Development; Greg David, director, Business Reporting Program, CUNY Graduate School of Journalism

Immigrant Electoral Power: The Changing Face of Leadership in NYC (2010)

New York City today has four Asian American elected officials, a far cry from only a decade ago. Although the city has numerous Latino legislators, it has yet to elect a Latino citywide or statewide official. As new generations of immigrants emerge and their children grow up, is New York's political character changing? Can new communities gain influence in government and society and help reshape our political leadership?

Sayu Bhojwani, Founding Director, The New American Leaders Project; Margaret Chin, New York City Council Member, District 1; Julissa Ferreras, New York City Council Member, District 21; Jonathan Hicks, Senior Fellow, The DuBois Bunche Center for Public Policy at Medger Evers; John Mollenkopf, Director, Center for Urban Research, City University of New York; John Rudolph, Executive Producer, Feet in Two Worlds

A Static State: The Budget Crisis and Albany in Transition (2010)

There will be a new governor next year, but is Albany likely to change? New York State's turbulent politics and bleak fiscal situation have made this year's budget among the more difficult in recent history. Lieutenant Governor Ravitch attempted to mobilize long-term fiscal accountability, but the Paterson administration chose a different path to attempt fiscal control. What can be learned from the crisis, and what will happen to state and local government — and the politics that drive our fiscal decisions — if the economy doesn't recover soon?

Lieutenant Governor Richard RavitchGerald Benjamin, Distinguished Professor of Political Science and Associate Vice President of Regional Engagement, SUNY New Paltz; Blair Horner, Legislative Director, New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG); Liz Krueger, State Senator, New York State; Carol O'Cleireacain, Senior Fellow, The Rockefeller Institute of Government; Azi Paybarah, Political Reporter, WNYC.

Putting Principals to the Test: Transforming NYC Schools in the Age of Data-Driven Accountability (2010)

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 plan are test-based accountability systems, which focus attention on struggling learners. At the same time, the traditional oversight by superintendents is gone. Does this strategy build better schools? What has been gained, lost, and learned? The Center for New York City Affairs will release an analysis of these influential and controversial reforms at the conference, which they are sponsoring.

Merryl Tisch, Chancellor, New York State Board of Regents; John Garvey, former dean of the Teacher Academy and Collaborative Programs, City University of New York; Ramón González, principal of MS 223, The Laboratory School of Finance and Technology in the Bronx; Shael Polakow-Suransky, deputy chancellor for Performance and Accountability, NYC Department of Education; Jacqueline Wayans, member of the Community Education Council, Bronx District 10. 

The Great Recession: Low-Income Working Women and Economic Inequality (2010)

For the first time in history, women account for half of the U.S. workforce, according to the recent Shriver Report. Even as the recession reshapes the workforce, women are less likely to lose their jobs than men. But is this progress? Women still earn substantially less than men: only 77 cents for every dollar earned by men, up a mere 13 cents from 1963. In New York City, many working women are still struggling with poverty. What effect has the recession had on women's equality in the workplace, and what are the repercussions for low-income working women?

Sue Kelly, former U.S. Representative (R-NY); Page S. Gardner, founder and president of Women's Voices. Women Vote; Irasema Garza, president of Legal Momentum, The Women's Legal Defense and Education Fund; Mark Greenberg, deputy assistant secretary for Policy in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Administration for Children and Families; Maggie Sepulveda, Carpenter Local 608/Teacher, Nontraditional Employment for Women (NEW); Valeria Fernández, independent reporter for Feet in Two Worlds.

Work Life, Home Life: Should Government Require Paid Leave? (2010)

About 1.3 million working people in New York City have no paid sick leave, and pressure is mounting on employers to provide it. Local chambers of commerce estimate the cost would be in the billions; labor advocates argue that it is simply a matter of fairness—and the City Council has begun to move on legislation. In a society characterized by often inflexible work options and limited public spending on child care, can family policies in the workplace be improved?

Sherry Leiwant, executive director of A Better Balance; Sheebani Patel, staff attorney and organizer at Restaurant Opportunities Center of New York; Nancy Ploeger, president and CEO of the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce; Mary R. Watson, associate professor and chair of Management Programs at Milano The New School for Management and Urban Policy; Sharon Lerner, author of The War on Moms: On Life in a Family-Unfriendly Nation

Cities Respond to Climate Change (2010)

As North American cities cope with the impacts of global warming and the economic crisis, leadership for meaningful long-term change remains elusive. Can government take charge of the climate change response despite intensifying political and economic constraints? Is the desire for profit enough to drive businesses to provide a substantial and concrete response? Or is true urban sustainability a question not only of good business practices but economic incentives, strong government regulation, and innovation driven by philanthropy and the nonprofit sector? Either way, how do we get there from here?

Stephen Heintz, President, Rockefeller Brothers Fund; David Owens, Staff Writer, the New Yorker; Mayor Gregor Robertson, City of Vancouver; Miquela Craytor, Executive Director, Sustainable South Bronx; Francis J. Murray, President and CEO, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority

School Food Matters:
Hunger, Obesity and Reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act (2010)

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. What would it take, in this time of recession, to ensure that more children receive freeand higher quality—school food? Why are about one-quarter of New York City elementary school students obese? Can hurdles be cleared for a better approach, or is the government already doing what it can?

Kevin Concannon, Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services, US Department of Agriculture; Eric Goldstein, CEO, SchoolFood, NYC Department of Education; Jan Poppendieck, author, Free for All: Fixing School Food in America; Jonathan Stein, General Counsel, Community Legal Services of Philadelphia; Jim Weill, President, Food Research and Action Center (FRAC); Fred Mogul, Reporter, WNYC radio

Banking Under the Mattress: Financial Literacy and Unbanked New Yorkers (2010)

A new FDIC study finds that seven of every 20 New York households is underbanked. In most cases, these are low-income, minority, and single-parent households that either have no bank accounts or rely heavily on alternative financial services such as payday lenders and pawn shops. Such families can pay exorbitant fees and interest, are at greater risk of robbery, and often cant borrow because they have no credit history. New York and other cities and states are experimenting with solutions, including low- or no-fee community banking services and financial literacy campaigns. What works? And what should government, nonprofits, and the banking sector do now?

Jonathan Mintz, commissioner of the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs; Cathie Mahon, executive director of the NYC Office of Financial Empowerment; Deyanira Del Rio, associate director of the Neighborhood Economic Development Advocacy Project; Edward Kramer, executive vice president of Wolters Kluwer Financial Services; and Leslie Parrish, senior researcher at the Center for Responsible Lending; Dean Starkman, managing editor of the Columbia Journalism Reviews The Audit

A Transformative Moment? New York's New Vision for Juvenile Justice (2010)

Major changes are afoot in juvenile justice. Governor Paterson recently proposed long-awaited reforms for upstate facilities where young teens are incarcerated. But he also proposed large cuts to alternative-to-detention and diversion programs. Meanwhile, the Bloomberg administration has merged the citys juvenile justice agency with childrens services, potentially accelerating expansion of community- and family-centered services for juvenile delinquents and other young people. What are the emerging visions? How might city, state and nonprofit agencies work together to support effective reform for children and families? A conversation about working toward meaningful change, at a time of fiscal crisis.

Commissioner Gladys Carrion, NYS Office of Children and Family Services; Commissioner John Mattingly, New York City Administration for Childrens Services; Commissioner Vincent Schiraldi, New York City Department of Probation; Melkeda Cardona, Youth Organizer, Safe Passages for Youth, The Correctional Association of NY; Jeremy Kohomban, President and CEO, Childrens Village; Jeremy Travis, President, John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Reviving New York City's Economy with Infrastructure (2010)

As New York City struggles with the recession, infrastructure development and renewal promise new jobs and long-term growth. New transportation, energy, high technology, and communication infrastructure projects are being planned and funded. How quickly will they provide new jobs? Are they doing so already? What are the prospects for long-term structural improvements to the citys economy? What is missing from current plans?

Christopher O. Ward, executive director of The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey; Seth W. Pinsky, president of the New York City Economic Development Corporation; Joan Byron, director of the Sustainability and Environmental Justice Initiative at the Pratt Center for Community Development; Kathryn S. Wylde, president and CEO of the Partnership for New York City; Robert Yaro, president of the Regional Plan Association; Daniel Massey, a reporter for Crains New York Business

Community Schools: Organizing Community Resources Around Student Success
A Conversation with U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan (2009)

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. Join us for a discussion about the future of community schools here in New York and elsewhere.

Markets, State and Democracy: Lessons from the Economic Crisis (2009)

The libertarian model asserts that heavy state intervention in the economy is a threat to human liberty. But the recent history of market-based democracies has shown almost the reverse. The supposedly small-state model of the United States has instead opened the door to massive inequalities of income, wealth, and power. The state has not taken over business; alas, business has taken over the state. Considering the recent experiences of the United States, Scandinavia, and other market-based economies, how should we re-conceptualize the balance of state, market, and democracy? With Professor Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University

A Need for Correction: Reforming New York's Juvenile Justice System (2009)

The federal Department of Justice has threatened to take over New Yorks juvenile justice system because of violence done by its staff and its inability to provide adequate psychiatric care for mentally ill children. Will the state and city improve mental health services and conditions for juvenile delinquents? The CNYCA releases its latest Child Welfare Watch report, which examines alternatives to incarceration that supervise children in their homes and communities; outlines possible reforms in detention and incarceration; and explores whether federal action can open the door to more sweeping change.

Larry Busching, Chief, Family Court Division, New York City Law Department; John Ruiz, OCFS Youth Counselor and Executive Board Member of Public Employees Federation; Sylvia Rowlands, Director, Blue Sky Program, New York Foundling; William Scarborough, Member, New York State Assembly; Tamara Steckler, Attorney-in-charge, Legal Aid Society Juvenile Rights Division; Andrew White, Director, Center for New York City Affairs

Race and the Subprime Crisis: The Future of Minority Neighborhoods (2009)

Some critics blame the Community Reinvestment Act for the mortgage meltdown that prompted the current deep recession. Others point to the abuses of subprime lending and Wall Street manipulation. Yet questions about the impact of the economic collapse on African American communities—and about the future of neighborhood stability, consumer access to credit, and the role of race in public policy—remain unanswered. As the federal government acts to reverse the economy's decline, what have we learned, and what does the future hold?

Hon. Maxine Waters, U.S. Representative (D-Calif.); James Carr, COO, National Community Reinvestment Coalition; Sarah Ludwig, Executive Director, NEDAP; Louis Prezeau, President & CEO, City National Bank; Darrick Hamilton, Assistant Professor, Milano The New School for Management and Urban Policy

Bloomberg and the Mayoralty (2009)

Michael Bloomberg, the self-made billionaire turned mayor, challenged the belief that businessmen make inept politicians and that charisma is a prerequisite for the job. Joyce Purnicks new biography, Mike Bloomberg: Money, Power, Politics, illuminates the man behind the public persona. She and others join the Center for New York City Affairs for a conversation about how Bloomberg and his money have reshaped the mayoralty, remade city politics, and upended notions of independent urban leadership.

Joyce Purnick, author, Mike Bloomberg: Money, Power, Politics; Adam Lisberg, City Hall Bureau Chief, New York Daily News; Doug Muzzio, Professor, Baruch College School of Public Affairs; Glenn Thrush, senior congressional reporter,

Can NYC Keep Affordable Housing in Sight? (2009)

The current economic turmoil is taking a tremendous toll. Home foreclosures are common, market-rate condominium sales have stalled, owners of over-leveraged developments are defaulting, and unemployment is rising. This panel, hosted by the Center for New York City Affairs, explores the impact of the economic crisis on New York City housing by considering questions like the following: How are neighborhoods faring in the recession? Can Mayor Bloomberg's market-driven affordability incentives continue to work? Are there sufficient government resources to take advantage of declining real estate costs and other opportunities? What's working and what's next?

Manny Fernandez, reporter, The New York Times; Rafael Cestero, Commissioner, NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development; Martin Dunn, President, Dunn Development Corporation; Ismene Speliotis, Executive Director, New York ACORN Housing Company, Inc; Mark Willis, Visiting Scholar, Ford Foundation