WMU News

NYC school chief to address state and local leaders

July 2, 1998

KALAMAZOO -- A nationally recognized leader in urban education reform will give state and community leaders a peek at what's in store for the nation's schools in the next century during a Friday, July 17, talk at Western Michigan University.

Dr. Rudolph F. Crew, chancellor of the New York City Public Schools, will discuss "Educational Leadership in the 21st Century" at 2 p.m. in the Oakland Recital Hall's Campus Cinema. He will address a gathering of invited state and local government leaders, corporate and foundation executives and school administrators from across the state. The event also is open to the public.

Crew, who has held his current position since 1995, is responsible for the education of more than 1 million students. He oversees an annual budget of $8 billion and leads a system of 32 district superintendents who report directly to him. The system is comprised of 1,100 schools in five boroughs of New York City.

"Access to such a well-respected and effective educator is an opportunity we expect will attract people from across the area," says Dr. Lynn Todman, associate director of the WMU Institute for Leadership Transformation, which is sponsoring Crew's visit. "He is someone who can frame the future for us because he is already dealing with many of the issues that schools in this area may confront in coming years."

A leading proponent of performance-driven public education, Crew has advocated higher standards throughout public education and has proposed that New York City schools adopt a set of national education standards. He has been credited with increases in student achievement in all areas in a district where scores had long remained low. During his three-year tenure, reading scores in every one of the system's 32 districts have improved, reflecting his goal of having all students reading at or above grade level by the end of the third grade.

Crew also has launched an innovative public/private partnership that has enlisted corporate help to ensure that computing technology is available in every city classroom by the year 2000. Among his other major initiatives is his current effort to restore arts education to the New York City schools.

Crew, who also has served as superintendent of schools in Tacoma, Md., and in Sacramento, Calif., will be in Kalamazoo to meet with members of the Michigan Association of African American Superintendents. The group has been meeting regularly on the WMU campus and working with the University's Institute for Leadership Transformation. The superintendents and their staffs will have an opportunity to meet with Crew in the morning before his public address.

Joining Crew for his afternoon presentation will be Dr. Belinda Williams, senior research and development specialist at Brown University's Educational Alliance Laboratory. Williams led the Research for Better Schools project that developed the Urban Learner Framework. The framework is an initiative supported by the U.S. Department of Education's Regional Education Laboratory and focuses on recognizing and using the special competencies that urban children bring to the classroom.

For more information about Crew's visit to Kalamazoo, persons should contact Todman at (616) 387-8370.

Media contact: Cheryl Roland, 616 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

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