About Us:



The CUNY Institute for Education Policy at Roosevelt House is New York’s Education Think Tank. We offer Clear Judgment, Innovative Ideas, and Pragmatic Solutions.

Our goal is to influence educational policy and practice in order to raise the academic, economic, and life prospects of all American students.

The Institute provides:

  • Research-based analysis of educational issues, from pre-K through college
  • A venue for non-partisan, productive discussion and problem solving
  • A repository of vital education resources for New York and the nation


To read more about the institute, please download our brochure.



In the coming years, the Institute will return repeatedly to four foundational challenges for New York City and beyond:

  1. Telling the Truth about Performance – It is striking that for so many decades, we have not been honest as a country about American children’s low level of academic achievement and what it means for their futures. The Institute will create an open discussion about this topic and provide practical opportunities for truth telling to support long-term educational excellence and equity.
  2. Challenging Our Students with Demanding and Coherent Curricula – The Common Core State Standards have opened up new pathways to academic rigor in every state. However, by themselves, standards are simply insufficient: evidence suggests that they must be filled out with content-rich, challenging material, if we are to achieve excellence in the classroom. The Institute will host public events, focused discussions, and analysis to advance the creation and adoption of meaningful curricula.
  3. Putting Our Most Talented College Graduates in front of the Classroom – Extensive research shows that strong teachers are the sine qua non of a good education. Nations that have been more successful than the U.S. at recruiting their top talent to be teachers and equipping them with sophisticated clinical preparation produce students who achieve at higher levels. Solving the problems of teacher preparation in America will require political courage. We are committed to fostering these outcomes through working groups and high-level conversations to advance the most promising solutions.
  4. Exploring Alternative Structures for American Education – Although the traditional neighborhood school continues to be the norm, newer arrangements such as charters, vouchers, tax credits, intra- and inter-district choice, and on-line learning are slowly re-configuring the shape of American education. At the same time, our basic funding structures, which include a heavy reliance on local property taxes, are a source of sustained criticism for their underfunding of our neediest students. The Institute will bring the best of national and international scholarship to discussions of effective funding models, the relationship between choice and equity, and the use of technology in achieving educational excellence.

Across these themes, we will expand our presence as a highly reliable source of judgment on education claims, research and results.

  • Media Presence – The Institute has been cited multiple times in the press, and a prominent profile is an important part of our mission to disseminate real education solutions. We will significantly broaden our media coverage for both events and publications.
  • Research and Fellowships – The Institute will continue to offer non-partisan evaluation of educational research. We will support ongoing research that will be useful to NYC educators. We will also create focused seminars to present the most current research and ideas to key journalists and policy-makers.
  • Publications – The Institute’s blog publishes a modest amount of original content and highlights the best thinking in education from other sources. Over the next two years, building on the work of our Fellows, we will create an e-journal that assembles and analyzes the most important research and examples of best practices from around the world.


Research-Based Analysis of Educational Problems

  • The Institute evaluates and disseminates rigorous national and international research on education.
  • Our website publishes original essays, collects critical information from other sources, and provides live streaming and archiving of our public events.
  • We provide clear analysis to practitioners and policy makers in New York and beyond. In our first year, we partnered with the Research Alliance for New York City Schools to analyze the findings from ten years’ worth of performance data from the City’s high schools. Our forum featured a panel that included NYC Chief Academic Officer and Senior Deputy Chancellor Shael Polakow-Suransky and Teachers College Professor Jeffrey Henig.

Trouble-Shooting and Problem-Solving

  • We provide a non-partisan, public environment for bold and freewheeling discussions of critical issues and private spaces for mediated conversations on sensitive disputes.
  • At our official launch in May 2013, Director David Steiner led New York State Commissioner of Education John King, Common Core architect David Coleman, veteran turnaround superintendent Paul Vallas, and American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education President Sharon Robinson in a discussion of the K-12 policy agenda for the coming year.

Educational Tools for New York and the Nation

  • Because we engage the most pressing issues facing American education, we draw widely on important insights, both national and international.
  • At the same time, New York City deserves a go-to think tank for public and private discussion about the nation’s largest public school district. We host events and conferences that address New York’s unique educational needs.
  • As the Department of Education introduced Common Core State Standards into New York City schools, the Institute hosted a conversation between Emory Professor Mark Bauerlein and Director David Steiner about the promise and limitations of the Common Core.
  • As the City prepared to elect a new mayor, we invited all candidates to one-on-one forums to defend their education platforms and respond to searching questions. Mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio understood the spirit of such meetings, expressing his gratitude for the chance to move beyond the sound bites of typical debates.