Goren Replaces Easton At Consortium


News is out this morning that Paul Goren, longtime Spencer Foundation staffer, has been named to head the Consortium on Chicago School Research, replacing John Easton who’s gone to Washington.  The Consortium is now part of the Urban Education Institute, the umbrella organization run by Tim Knowles. 

Observers disagree on the value and independence of the CCSR, which in recent years has worked closely with the Chicago Board of Education.  However, CCSR is considered a national model that is being adopted in other big cities like New York. 

Disclosure:  I have done occasional freelance work for the Spencer Foundation and was a 2009 Spencer Education Journalism Fellow.

Consortium on Chicago School Research names education policy expert, foundation leader as new executive director
The University of Chicago has selected Paul Goren, senior vice
president of the Spencer Foundation and a national leader in education
research, policy and practice, as the new executive director of the Consortium on Chicago School Research (CCSR), which has become a national model for conducting research on urban public education systems.
The Chicago-based Spencer Foundation is the nation’s only philanthropic
organization dedicated exclusively to education research. In his new
position, Goren will serve as the Lewis-Sebring Director of CCSR.

CCSR is part of the university’s Urban Education Institute,
which in addition to conducting studies to inform policy and practice
in Chicago Public Schools, also operates four South Side public charter
schools and a teacher training program dedicated to preparing teachers
for the special needs of urban classrooms.

“We are thrilled,” UEI John Dewey Director Timothy Knowles
said. “Paul understands that creating reliably excellent schools for
children growing up in urban America depends on good evidence–for
teachers, for school and district leaders and for the public.  Paul
brings national perspective, a deep knowledge base, and an appetite to
ask hard questions. UEI is enormously fortunate to have drawn Paul to
our midst.”     

A Chicago native and product of the Chicago Public Schools, Goren has
worked closely with CCSR during his tenure at Spencer. “It is a
tremendous honor to be chosen to lead an organization I have long
admired,” he said. “The Consortium and the Urban Education Institute
reflect the University’s commitment to improving urban education by
actually working on the front-lines of urban education.”
With research organizations modeled after CCSR proliferating in
school districts, cities and states nationwide, Goren said he looks
forward to managing CCSR’s growing national influence while maintaining
its primary focus on the Chicago Public Schools. “The new CPS
administration is using data and information as the cornerstone of its
decision making. This provides the Consortium with obvious
opportunities to continue to be of assistance as an independent lens on

Goren succeeds John Q. Easton,
who led CCSR from 2002 until May 2009, when he accepted an appointment
from President Obama to run the Institute of Education Sciences, the
research arm of the U.S. Department of Education.

“Paul’s experiences working in large urban school districts and with
policy makers and top researchers across the country make him the
perfect person to lead CCSR,” Easton said. “I expect Paul will expand
CCSR’s national presence, maintain the highest quality research, and
work closely to inform new initiatives in Chicago Public Schools.”
Goren has spent the past 25 years at the intersection of education
research, policy and practice. He began his career as a middle school
teacher and went on to train as an education policy analyst and school
administrator. He has served as director of the Education Policy
Studies Division of the National Governors’ Association; executive
director of Policy and Strategic Services for the Minneapolis Public
Schools; and director of Child and Youth Development for the Program on
Human and Community Development at the John D. and Catherine T.
MacArthur Foundation, where he was responsible for grants that included
support for Chicago school reform.
Most recently, through the Ian Axford Fellowship program of Fulbright
New Zealand, he served on special assignment to the New Zealand
Ministry of Education, studying how their policies to improve outcomes
for Maori students have been enacted in practice. In each of these
stops, Paul helped translate education research for practitioners and
policymakers, an exercise that is at the heart of CCSR’s work.
Michael McPherson, president of the Spencer Foundation, noted that
Goren’s new post will allow him to continue to advance the goals that
motivate both the Spencer Foundation and the University of Chicago.
“We will miss him greatly at Spencer, but we are glad to know he will
continue to serve the city that he and we love,” McPherson said. “Paul
Goren is a superb choice to lead the Consortium. He knows the issues
very well and he knows Chicago. He is a wonderful, generous human being
who believes deeply in making education work for all Americans.”
University President Robert Zimmer also expressed enthusiastic support
for the pick. “The Urban Education Institute is an essential part of
the University’s effort to create knowledge to improve lives,” Zimmer
said. “We are extremely pleased the Consortium will have such a
well-regarded leader at the helm.”

Goren holds a Ph.D. from Stanford University, a master of public
affairs degree from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University
of Texas, and a B.A. from Williams College. Goren is married to Gwen
Macsai, a writer and public radio producer. They live in the Chicago
area with their three school-age children.


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  • Another white male...

  • Surprised? It is the UofC way! besides taking poverty funds from CPS schools!

  • Out of curiosity, I looked up Tim Knowles' bio. It states he has "a doctorate from the Harvard Graduate School of Education." Is this evidence of the embarrassment of people who have EdDs vs. PhDs, even if they are from Harvard? Does anyone know if there has ever been a movement within education to retroactively "upgrade" an EdD to a PhD in order to deal with the second-class status of the degree as they have done in social work?

  • From Kappan--the Don Frynd way! "Chicago serves as an example
    of this. Halfway through my school

  • Useless!!! Talk about a useless highly educated group of folks who have no courage or wisdom to call out Daley, Huberman and PM team , and CBOE members. The Consortium on Chicago School Research is useless unless it can be a prophetic voice for our students. These clowns get paid by CPS to sit in the ivory tower and not be engaged unless they are $$$$ profiting off the backs of the poor and the taxpayers. Cowards! Give the money back to CPS if you are not going to make a difference. Have some integrity and give the money back!

  • These folks cheering Paul Corning sound an awful like the same ones who said Duncan was a good choice to run the Department of Education and Huberman to run CPS without any experience. Hyde Park parasites!

  • At least Paul Goren was an educator. You have to appreciate that someone running the consortium knows what it means to be a teacher.

    For those who think that the Consortium is supposed to get out in front of the masses and push for the removal of Huberman...or whomever...get real! The consortium does RESEARCH and reports on its findings. They can look at policies and how effective they have been, but don't expect any of that for a few years.

    For those of you complaining about Tim Knowles: Well, he is a pompous ass, but that doesn't mean he is bad for education. Because he had a degree from Harvard does not mean he's a bad guy. Does he try to manipulate the system to meet his, and his schools' needs? Of course. But he can probably put together some decent schools based on research.

    Give 'em time.

  • In reply to SmashedFace:

    Goren got out of a classroom the first chance he got. And the CCSR has yet to ever produce research that was a boon for the children of CPS. Further, the U. of Chicago supports the worst charter schools (and their employees) in the district. So, if past is prologue, and it is, I'm not holding my breath.

  • In reply to SmashedFace:

    The Ivory Tower Chapees can let their books gather dust, as they do now. Smashed Face... the scholars can point out quite eloquently on where the Huberman and team are going wrong. Otherwise, it looks like the Consortium and the CBOE are members of a mutual admiration society. Each uses the other for their own benefit. The Consortium give CBOE the facade of having integrity and legitimacy and the consortium goes along with it so they can branch out the "model" that has done really nothing as we can see to improve schooling and learning in the Chicago Public Schools.

    Smashed Face... what about all the years that the consortium has been in business... Lets be real, with the historical knowledge of US Education and how it has been played out in CPS, I can imagine that the consortium can be very critical of the practices and policies that is being placed on the schools and professionals in the classroom. I truly believe that they can "out" Hubmerman for his reckless mandates and policies and their negative effect on students probably tomorrow, unless they live like trappist monks far away from the people and community. We don't have years. You don't have to lead the masses nor ask for Huberman to walk away. They do need to speak up or they are cowards and useless.

  • In reply to viniciusdm:

    Right on Viniciusdm--so true. Also, when they come down from that tower and actually watch nonEnglish speaking/reading parents and students fill out their complicated and confusing surveys, then they will get some credit.

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    Talking with my fellow teachers, the teacher survey they offer has a glaring hole in it. Why no questions regarding the CEO, Now CAO, lets add the performance managment folks as well. Hey Scholars, ask us what we think and believe about them in your teacher survey. Why are you giving cover and solace to the CEO and friends? Yes Scholars, teachers do talk about your teacher survey holes!!!

  • UC has no problem taking poverty $$ big time from the mouths of CPS' poorest children--they should be responsible enough with all the gall and $ and intellect they have to yell from their mountain and call for CPS to do the right thing AND how to implement the research they keep spewing out. They write a lot, they report data a lot, but it is meaningless if they cannot get out of the ivory tower and put it into practice with CPS' toughest schools.

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