NYU-Authored Strategy Unveiled for Improving Education, Services for Youth in Cuyahoga County

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Media contact:
Nicole Dailey Jones: (216) 263-4602, (216)338-0863 or ndjones@cuyahogacounty.us
John Kohlstrand: (216) 698-2099 or jkohlstrand@cuyahogacounty.us

CLEVELAND — Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald and scholars from New York University today unveiled a 39-page strategy for improving educational outcomes for the most vulnerable children in Cuyahoga County.

The new report was commissioned by the county executive, funded by the Third Federal Foundation, and completed by the Metropolitan Center for Urban Education (Metro Center) of New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development.

The report calls for a more comprehensive and coordinated approach to increase academic outcomes for economically poor students and to improve the schools that serve them. Improvements in schools could spur economic development and improve the quality of life for a greater number of County residents, according to the report.

The 39-page strategy is based on interviews with key stakeholders in Cuyahoga County. It draws on lessons learned from research carried out in a variety of fields on the social and emotional needs of children and the best practices of current school reform initiatives.

“Part of my pledge to residents was to execute new policies that would create jobs, promote economic growth and put the people of our county first by aligning our services.” FitzGerald said. “This study has helped us understand how to do this strategically and collaboratively.”

The Third Federal Foundation has spearheaded a P-16 educational model in the Broadway-Slavic Village area to remove barriers to education and promote educational excellence. “The release of this study will enhance our ability to meet our goals,” said Kurt Karakul, president and executive of the foundation.

“It is because of the aligned vision and values of our County Executive Ed FitzGerald, our Mayor Frank Jackson, Cleveland School’s CEO Eric Gordon and many other community leaders that we are able to work collaboratively to leverage hundreds of millions of dollars in support of education transformation activities,” Karakul said. “The bold approach outlined in Cuyahoga County’s commitment to education is not just a pledge, it is policy.”

The strategy recommends several goal areas to be phased in from now through 2020:

  • Goal One: The various Cuyahoga County service entities, school districts, and community-based organizations must collectively define and frame priorities for youth development initiatives.
  • Goal Two: Under the leadership of the Office of the Cuyahoga County Executive, institute formal relationships between youth development initiatives with similar missions and shared constituencies.
  • Goal Three: Develop a cross-county data platform to be shared by youth development agencies, school districts, community-based organizations, and philanthropic groups.

FitzGerald will appoint members to the Cuyahoga Commitment Youth Development Council that will convene in January to begin implementing the recommendations of the Study.

Several other county executive efforts are ongoing, including:

  • Expanding critical improvements to access for quality early childhood education and universal pre-kindergarten services countywide;
  • Continuing the work of the Higher Education Compact of Greater Cleveland to increase college graduation rates; and
  • Continuing to develop and coordinate 21st century workforce education and internships to engage leading industries in establishing robust pilot workforce initiatives

A copy of the study can be found here: http://executive.cuyahogacounty.us/pdf_executive/en-US/Mapping-FutureforCtyYouth.pdf