Student’s Drive to Improve Inner-City Education Standards Influences Career Path
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Philip Chew, a undergraduate student in the College of Education studying Education and Public Policy, landed his dream internship this summer with the New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE). Chew, spent his summer with the Office of Interschool Collaborative Learning (OICL) under the NYCDOE.Chew said that he knew he wanted to work for an education system like the one in New York City before he had his internship.
“I always wanted to get involved with a local education system that served inner-city students, since they are usually disadvantaged in funding,” Chew said. “I want to drive systematic change in the system because I think that education is a public good that should be provided to all people.”
He spent much of his time with the OICL processing school’s applications for the Learning Partners Program (LPP).
The LPP is an initiative focused on supporting schools that desire growth in one or two of the 16 learning focus areas the NYCDOE distinguished. Some of the areas include supporting students with disabilities, developing teacher and principal growth and promoting family and community engagement.
Schools interested in furthering their school’s proficiency in one of these areas apply to join the LPP. The schools are chosen after considering their demographics, the areas they were interested and a site visit, according to Chew.
After being chosen for the LPP, three schools come together to form a Learning Partners Triad. The Triad is given a facilitator tasked with managing the collaboration of the three schools, each of which is provided $15,000 to help them reach their goals.
“The goal of this facet of the program is to develop an open, sharing culture in New York City public schools,” Chew said. “The OICL believes that the answers to big problems in public school education is already in the classrooms, and everyone needs to come together to find the solution.”
Chew strongly believes that LPP is something that could work in other education systems.
“The beauty of LPP is that it is not creating anything new. It is using the best practices that are already in our classrooms,” he said. “It creates a mentoring relationship between schools that want to be involved.”
Chew added that he would like to see a modification to the way the NYCDOE focuses their resources because he said there was a lot of emphasis on meeting the needs of teachers, under the belief that it will trickle down to students.
“Students should be given the chance to provide feedback on their teachers, schools and education system that will be given consideration during evaluation," he said.
Chew is currently focusing on research evaluating the quality and effectiveness of standards based reform policies in New York.
“These two opportunities have allowed me to bridge the gap between research and practice,” Chew said.
By Jack Small (November 2014)