WNYC & The New York Times's SCHOOLBOOK presents "School Choice: Too Much of a Good Thing?" with NYC Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott on Thursday, December 8


SchoolBook, A Partnership between WNYC and The New York Times, presents

School Choice: Too Much of a Good Thing?
A Town Hall Event on Navigating the City’s Middle and Upper Schools

With Panelists Including NYC Schools Chancellor DENNIS WALCOTT

Hosted by WNYC’s Brian Lehrer

At Pratt Institute, Memorial Hall
Thursday, December 8, 2011 at 6pm

Free and Open to the Public; Tickets Must Be Reserved at


(New York, NY – November 29, 2011) – As the deadline for school applications approaches, some parents are still struggling to decipher what many feel is a labyrinthine process. With hundreds of middle schools and high schools, the New York City school system presents an impressive range of choices and opportunities for the students and parents who can manage the bureaucracy.  Following 10 years of mayoral control, there are now new schools opening every year, and more charter schools than ever.  However, the overwhelming complexity of the system presents a serious obstacle for students and parents, who don’t have the tools to properly assess their options, and for teachers, who have experienced a dizzying array of changes in standards and measures, making it difficult to focus on students’ needs in the classroom and find the support needed to hone their skills as educators. 

On Thursday, December 8 at 6pm at Pratt Institute, SchoolBook – the digital education collaboration between The New York Times and WNYC – will present “School Choice: Too Much of a Good Thing?,” a live event looking at the challenges of navigating the school system in New York City. 

WNYC’s Peabody Award-winning host BRIAN LEHRER will lead a town hall discussion exploring a variety of issues, including whether the expanded landscape of school options has actually improved education for the 1.1 million public school students in the New York City system, how foreign language-speaking parents can access the information they need to make good decisions for their children, and how to reach families that are too distracted or disinterested to figure out what their options are.  Chancellor Dennis Walcott will discuss his efforts to improve parental engagement and outreach, and talk about how the Department of Education determines which schools to close each year.

Panelists include:

  • Dennis Walcott, New York City Schools Chancellor
  • Beth Fertig, WNYC Education Reporter and author of Why cant u teach me 2 read?: Three Students and A Mayor Put Our Schools to the Test
  • Fernanda Santos, New York Times Education Reporter
  • Principal Rashid Davis, Pathways in Technology Early College High School
  • Laura Klein, 8th Grade Teacher, Rafael Hernandez School of Performing Arts
  • Kelvin Diamond, parent leader in District 13 Brooklyn
  • Allison Keil, Co-Director, Community Roots charter school
  • Miriam Lewis Raccah, Vice President, Achievement First Charter School Network

The town hall meeting will also include videotaped interviews with New York City teenagers about their experience choosing schools.  For more information about the event, please visit www.wnyc.org/ce.

School Choice: Too Much of a Good Thing?
WHEN:           Thursday, December 8, from 6-7:30pm
WHERE:                    Pratt Institute, Memorial Hall
                                    200 Willoughby Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11205             

TICKETS:                  FREE, reservations must be made by RSVP at www.wnyc.org/ce.

New York Public Radio
is New York's premier public radio franchise, comprising WNYC, WQXR, and The Jerome L. Greene Performance Space, as well as www.wnyc.org, www.wqxr.org and www.thegreenespace.org.  As America's most listened-to AM/FM news and talk public radio stations, reaching 1.1 million listeners every week, WNYC extends New York City's cultural riches to the entire country on-air and online, and presents the best national offerings from networks National Public Radio, Public Radio International, American Public Media, and the British Broadcasting Company. WNYC 93.9 FM broadcasts a wide range of daily news, talk, cultural and music programming, while WNYC AM 820 maintains a stronger focus on breaking news and international news reporting. Classical 105.9 WQXR is New York City's sole 24-hour classical music station, presenting new and landmark classical recordings as well as live concerts from the Metropolitan Opera, the New York Philharmonic, among other New York City venues, immersing listeners in the city's rich musical life. In addition to its audio content, WNYC and WQXR produce content for live, radio and web audiences from The Jerome L. Greene Performance Space, the station's street-level multipurpose, multiplatform broadcast studio and performance space. For more information about New York Public Radio, visit www.nypublicradio.org.

About Pratt Institute:
Globally recognized for its distinguished academic reputation, Pratt Institute is one of the world's most prestigious independent colleges. Founded in 1887, Pratt offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs to 4,700 students from around the world in architecture, art and design, information and library science, and liberal arts and sciences. Pratt's programs are consistently ranked among the best in the country, and its faculty and alumni include the most renowned artists, designers, and scholars in their fields who collectively have produced some of the most innovative and iconic works of our time. Pratt's inspirational campus in the Clinton Hill section of Brooklyn and in Manhattan on West 14th Street places it in one of the world's cultural epicenters and provides its students with unparalleled training facilities. Pratt is currently in the midst of a 16-month celebration of its rich 125-year history of creativity. For more information on Pratt's 125th Anniversary, visit www.pratt.edu/125.    

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