General Bank Street News

Hear Christine Quinn On 'Alternatives to School Closings'

Posted by Nick Gray on March 02, 2012

Amid intense political clamor about teacher accountability, performance standards, and education reform, the New York Times reports that the city’s Education Department remains on track to close 33 under-performing schools. When reopened, those schools will be renamed, and half their teachers will be replaced. The fate of their students remains to be seen.

Niemeyer logoAre there other options? Bank Street’s seventh annual Niemeyer Series, on March 12, seeks to identify effective alternatives that shift the focus toward capacity building and support.

Moderated by Jon Snyder, Dean of the College at Bank Street, the event features New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, an influential figure in educational policy and a major candidate in the city’s 2013 mayoral race.

Representatives from some of New York’s leading educational advocacy organizations will also lend their voices to the discussion. Zakayah Ansari is the Advocacy Director for the Alliance of Quality Education, and a parent leader for the Coalition for Educational Justice. In her work, Ansari fights for quality education for students in underserved communities, many of which are deeply affected by school closing. Also participating is Maria Fernandez, a senior coordinator for the Urban Youth Collaborative (UYC), a social justice organization led by urban youths. In April 2011, UYC released a detailed report on the fate of students of 21 New York schools that had been “phased out” since 2001, showing that outcomes remained unchanged and in some cases deteriorated.

At the Niemeyer Series, participants will place these challenges in the context of the current political climate and focus constructively on charting paths forward.

About the Niemeyer Series

John H. Niemeyer

John H. Niemeyer served as Bank Street’s first president (1956–1973) and transformed the College in many ways, beginning with moving it from 69 Bank Street in Greenwich Village to West 112th Street. He led the College’s evolution into a widely known institution that worked with and acted as a prime resource for schools, educators, and policy makers. In addition to his work within the College, Niemeyer was an active and influential member of the progressive education community, serving as a consultant to the United States Office of Education regarding desegregation and the formation of Head Start.

The Niemeyer Series comprises lectures and symposia focused on urgent matters of educational interest. The Series is dedicated to the memory of John H. Niemeyer, for his leadership in helping Bank Street College to become a national voice for children beyond practice and into policy.