CENTER FOR EDUCATIONAL INNOVATION -
PUBLIC EDUCATION ASSOCIATION
n o t e s 28 West 44th Street, Suite 300, New York, NY 10036 Phone: 212.302.8800 Fax: 212.302.0088 Website: www.cei-pea.org
The Center for Educational Innovation-Public Education Association (CEI-PEA) is an independent, nonprofit,
nonpartisan organization working for better public education for all children.
Real Decision-Making Power for Effective Schools
Notes by Sy Fliegel, President and Gilder Senior Fellow, CEI-PEA
This fall, 332 New York City public schools became
Empowerment Schools, which means that they now
have greater autonomy in exchange for greater
accountability as measured by student performance.
The Empowerment Schools initiative is unlike any
prior effort to decentralize the school system because
power is given directly to schools rather than districts
or school boards. In Empowerment Schools, principals
can truly be held accountable for student performance
because they have direct control over key educational
decisions and resources. The principals are literally
jobs on the
line to become an
Empowerment School because each school’s success
will be measured through a comprehensive student
assessment system that will determine the value that
the school adds to each student’s education.
With nearly one-fourth of the City’s principals opting
for their school to become an Empowerment School, it
is clear that this reform is the first major step towards
restructuring the entire school system. Empowerment
Schools gain significant decision-making power,
• Control over organization of the school, staff and
• Ability to implement the City’s core curriculum
OR propose an alternative curriculum.
• Choice over educational programming and service
providers to meet the needs of English language
learners and students with special needs.