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.
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.
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
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.”
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.
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.”
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.
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.
Goren’s new post will allow him to continue to advance the goals that
motivate both the Spencer Foundation and the University of Chicago.
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.”
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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