Urban School Models Forum to Feature Pulitzer Prize Winner, Fmr DC Mayor

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Pulitzer Prize Winner, Former D.C. Mayor, Two Former State Education Chiefs and Lawrence Receiver to Speak at Urban School Models Forum

Event to focus on lessons from Washington, D.C. and New Orleans

BOSTON – As Massachusetts leaders weigh a significant expansion of public charter schools in 29 low-performing districts, Pioneer Institute is assembling experts on the role of choice in New Orleans and Washington, D.C., cities with significantly larger percentages of families able to enroll their children in alternative urban education models than is the case in Massachusetts.

“Urban School Models: Choice and Charter Lessons from D.C. and New Orleans” will feature a Pulitzer Prize winner, a former DC mayor, two former state education chiefs and the superintendent of Lawrence schools, which are currently in state receivership. It will be held on Monday morning, October 14th from 8:00 to 11:00 am at the Omni Parker House Hotel in Boston. The event is open to the public. Attendees should RSVP to Brian Patterson at bpatterson@pioneerinst.wpengine.com or (617) 723-2277, ext. 217.

Charter Schools in New Orleans: Lessons for Massachusetts

School Vouchers in Washington, D.C.: Lessons for Massachusetts

“With the recent Stanford CREDO report demonstrating that Boston has the highest performing charters in the country, we wanted to underscore the powerful change in outcomes that a significant increase in the charter caps would make possible,” says Jim Stergios, Executive Director of Pioneer Institute. “Even though Massachusetts students as a whole top the nation on academic performance, we need all students, regardless of zip code, to share in that success.”

Former Washington, D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty will deliver a Keynote address. Education reform was a major focus of Fenty’s term, from 2007 to 2011.

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author Jed Horne will offer introductory remarks. Horne, then a metro editor at the New Orleans Times-Picayune, was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for his part in the paper’s coverage of Hurricane Katrina. His book, Breach of Faith: Hurricane Katrina and the Near Death of a Great American City, was declared the “best of the Katrina books” on National Public Radio.

Two related research papers will be unveiled at the event. Neerav Kingsland, chief strategy officer at New Schools for New Orleans, will present “Charter Schools in New Orleans: Lessons for Massachusetts,” which he wrote with William Donovan.

University of Arkansas Professor Patrick Wolf will present “School Vouchers in Washington, D.C.: Lessons for Massachusetts.” Professor Wolf is leading the impact evaluation of the D.C. opportunity scholarship program through a contract with the U.S. Department of Education.

A roundtable panel discussion will be moderated by Paul Pastorek, who was Louisiana’s superintendent of education in the wake of Hurricane Katrina from 2007 to 2011. He will be joined by Lawrence Superintendent Jeffrey Riley, Kevin Chavous, Kenneth Campbell and Robert Scott.

Kevin Chavous is a noted attorney, author and national school reform leader. As chair of the Council of the District of Columbia’s education committee, he helped usher in charter school and parental choice programs.

Kenneth Campbell is a founding board member of the Black Alliance for Educational Options and has served as its president since 2010. He was also the founding director of charter schools at the Louisiana Department of Education.

Robert Scott was Texas’ Commissioner of Education from 2007 until 2012. During his tenure, the department published a four-year study of students who moved from Louisiana to Texas after Hurricane Katrina. The study found that the “Katrina students” outperformed a control group of Texas students with similar demographic characteristics.

At the conclusion of the event, Jed Horne and Kevin Chavous will sign copies of their books.

The event is co-sponsored by the Program on Education Policy and Governance at Harvard Kennedy School, Black Alliance for Educational Options, the Massachusetts Charter Public School Association, and SABIS®.


Pioneer Institute is an independent, non-partisan, privately funded research organization that seeks to improve the quality of life in Massachusetts through civic discourse and intellectually rigorous, data-driven public policy solutions based on free market principles, individual liberty and responsibility, and the ideal of effective, limited and accountable government.