Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

PhD Higher Education Leadership, Management, Policy


Education Leadership, Management and Policy


Juan Cobarrubias

Committee Member

Kevin Hanbury

Committee Member

Robert Hickson


Education, Urban, Educational change, New York (State), New York, Bloomberg, Michael


The overarching goal of the study was to ascertain if the changes underway as a result of the New York City School Reform act will have meaningful impact on the quality of education offered to over 1 million schoolchildren? Additionally, will mayoral control in the New York City public school system guarantee basic human rights standards? Will consideration be given to the associated conditions of poverty and limited opportunities? Will mayoral control contribute towards fighting disparities in resources? The purpose of this research is to study the impact of school reform legislation upon New York City leaders and school administrators. In December 1996, the New York State Legislature convened a special legislative session and passed a compromise bill. A qualitative research design that utilized semi­ structured ethnographic interviews was used with the intention of collecting data from a vast experience base possessed by each of my informants. This contributed to a wide range of organized discussion. The primary focus was to analyze the informants' individual attitudes, beliefs and feelings on our research topics. Though the pace of governance reforms has quickened, the latest reforms, by themselves, will net help schools or districts improve student achievement. Past reforms, as well as the current governance change, have altered structures, but have not provided the incentive er support for improving the core relationships of effective schooling-the relationships between schools, parents, and communities. Analysis of the data indicated that the system's top-down bureaucracy prevents flexibility in reform efforts, and keeps the power to change the system away from parents, students, educators and communities. These problems run too deep for any one change in policy or shift in governance to solve. A whole system change in education is needed. Remedies that are envisioned include the need to reframe the New York City School Reform as a civic project. A comprehensive effort must be launched to incorporate a range of state, city, community and locally provided social, medical, library, cultural, and recreational services in and out of school. The services should be rooted in principals of youth development that seeks broader goals for youth.