Let Rich and Poor Learn Together: The Center For New York City Affairs

clara3InsideSchools Director Clara Hemphill has co-authored an op-ed in the New York Times in which she outlines the achievements and shortfalls of New York City Mayor, Bill de Blasio’s program “Pre-K for All” which promises universal Pre-K to over 70,000 4-year-olds in NYC. 

While overall access to Pre-K is improving under this program for children of different socioeconomic backgrounds, there is a lack of integration.  Even in neighborhoods that are economically mixed, children from different economic backgrounds are separated.  This is certainly not the intention of the program, rather, it is a result of the “cobbling together [of[ different funding sources and different types of preschools” and thus, reinforcing barriers that keep rich and poor children apart.

Clara sites research which indicates that poor children do better academically when they study alongside children with higher economic status.  This positive effect comes  without compromising the academic experience of any of the children, poor or rich.  The op-ed points out that there are instances of “blended classrooms” that integrate poor and rich children, such as Park Slope North-Helen Owen Carey Child Development Center in Brooklyn.  However, in order to achieve this, the school received less funding from the Department of Education who demanded that ” subsidized children had to be in separate Pre-K classrooms in the 2014-15 school year”.

Hemphill calls the city to enable blended funding, to offer more Pre-K classes in public schools in economically mixed neighborhoods, both of which will capitalize on the rapid increase in Pre-K enrollment is, surely a huge achievement.

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Professor Anna Di Lellio’s Art Installation in Kosovo Goes Global

IMG_3034In commemoration of the end of The Kosovo War GPIA Professor Anna Di Lellio has produced an art installation that addresses wartime rape. The installation “Thinking of You” displays 5,000 dresses strung across the main soccer stadium in the capital of Pristina. Open to the public as of June 12th, the piece has since been featured in media across the world, including The New York Times, The GuardianQuartz and Associated Press.

Di Lellio and the artist, Alketa Xhafa-Mripa, received support from the Kosovar President Atifete Jahjaga, who donated the first dress on May 8th. After their meeting with the President, Di Lellio and Xhafa-Mripa organized clothing drives across Kosovo and abroad. Both Di Lellio and Xhafa-Mripa were impressed with the men (fathers, brothers, and sons of victims) who stepped forward to donate dresses, as well as towns in the north of Kosovo, which is overwhelmingly Serbian.

Quoted from The New York Times, “Di Lellio hopes the dresses will reduce the stigma that has surrounded and silenced victims of rape since the war’s end. In a society that has been focused on moving forward and rebuilding, the project serves as a reminder that acknowledging sexual violence is a vital step towards Kosovo’s future.”

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Alumni Spotlight: French Smith

FrenchSmith NepalFrench Smith (GPIA, Spring 2015) is currently a Fellow for the NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security at the UN Plaza. In her new role French will be performing policy research, meeting with a consortium of NGOs, and making recommendations to the Security Council on how to better incorporate a gendered analysis in UN resolutions.  After completing her thesis in December 2014, French served as a Human Rights Fellow with the International Honors Program (IHP), traveling with 25 undergraduate students to Nepal, Jordan and Chile, and served as a mentor, teaching assistant, and logistical coordinator during the trips. Most recently, alum Nathaniel Phillipps (GPIA, Spring 2015) has accepted the Human Rights Fellow position at IHP to replace French. 

With her current fellowship ending this August, French hopes to secure a position in either policy research or program management in the human rights sector in New York City.

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Professor Alberto Minujin Interviewed by Colombian newspaper La República

AlbertoIn an interview published by the Colombian newspaper La República, GPIA part-time faculty and Equity for Children Executive Director, Alberto Minujin speaks about a recent project, conducted by Equity for Children in partnership with Cómo Vamos and Fundación Corona, to analyze and compare early childhood quality of life in different neighborhoods of four Colombian cities. The goal of the initiative is to obtain data to support better policies that guarantee childhood rights.  Read the interview in Spanish here. Learn more about the project here.

In its first phase, the project focused on the age range of infants to five-year-olds. Future phases will expand the population studied to children of all ages across additional cities in Latin America.

On June 9, Professor Minujin, on behalf of Equity for Children, presented the results of the project to national level government officials in Bogotá, Colombia. On June 10 and 11, results were presented respectively in Cali and Manizales, Colombia, to local government officials and the Colombian press.

Professor Minujin teaches “Children, Rights, Poverty, Equality” and “Evaluating Development Impact” at the Milano School in the Spring semester. He also runs the International Summer Field Program (IFP) in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and is the Executive Director of Equity for Children, an impact driven advocacy and social change initiative at the Milano School focused on children’s rights and wellbeing.

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The New School and Rockefeller Foundation Sponsor Publishing of ‘The Housing Challenge: Avoiding the Ozymandias Syndrome’

housing dilemmaRobert Bucky, in partnership with the Rockefeller Foundation and other New School faculty and students including Achilles Kallergis and Laura Wainer, has published a summary of an October 2014 meeting in Bellagio, Italy attended by experts and academics whose countries are undertaking large, multi-billion-dollar housing projects. Attendees explored possible solutions to questions such as: 
  • Is the Social Contract for Urban Development with Cities or Housing Suppliers?
  • Are Urban Regulations a Central Cause of the Housing Affordability Problem?
  • Which Kinds of Urban and Related Financial Regulations Are Essential?
  • How Can the Existing Urban Capital Stock Help Address Housing Affordability?
  • How Can Subsidies Help? 
Other New School students who contributed to the work are Alissa Chisholm and Thomas Disley.
 
Access the full publication here: The Housing Challenge: Avoiding the Ozymandias Syndrome. View the full post to read the executive summary.
 
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