We believe social science can play an important role in the struggle for social justice. Participatory Action Research (PAR) provides a critical framework for making science – systematic inquiry and analysis – a public enterprise. Allied with feminist, critical race, and indigenous theory, PAR is an approach to research that values the significant knowledge people hold about their lives and experiences. PAR positions those most intimately impacted by research as leaders in shaping research questions, framing interpretations, and designing meaningful research products and actions. With these commitments, The Public Science Project collaborates with academics, community organizations, schools, prisons, and public institutions to design, conduct, and support research and practice aimed at interrupting injustice. Click here for our mission and more information on our history, research, projects, training institutes, and workshops.
The Youth Justice Research Collaborative (YJRC)
And Still They Rise: Lessons From Students in New York City’s Alternative Transfer High Schools
And Still They Rise, is the first systematic analysis of alternative transfer schools in New York City – alternative educational spaces that keep their doors open to a range of students who seek an education despite past academic struggles. The report blends a qualitative and quantitative review of 842 students’ responses to a participatory survey that asked about goals, desires, obstacles, and what they found at transfer schools. Many of these young people sit at the brutal downstream intersections of socio-economic inequities, structural racism, battles with mental health, high stakes testing-cultures, and under-resourced schools. And yet, these young people seek, and find, alternative educational settings where their needs and interests are recognized, their gifts are admired, and expectations are high. Educators, counselors, and community partners in transfer schools enact deep commitments to pedagogical care and culturally responsive teaching. The students’ responses allow us to name four non-negotiable elements of transfer schools in New York City: enhanced access to opportunities and resources; cultures of care; scaffolded high expectations; and school cultures that encourage both personal and collective responsibility. This report sheds light on the urgency of these schools as an essential educational safety net for more than 13,000 students that is under continuous strain as current policy context over-determine them to fail. This is both a policy oversight and an educational and racial injustice. This monograph calls on the city and the state to provide equitable funding for transfer schools and their partnering CBOs, and a transformed accountability system that documents equitably the incredible accomplishments of these schools and these students. [Read the report…]
Assessing College Readiness Through Authentic Student Work.
A collaboration between The Public Science Project, The New York Performance Standards Consortium, and the Learning Policy Institute
This report describes the history, context, implementation, and early results of a unique college admissions pilot, one that provides new evidence in the ongoing debate about how colleges should evaluate students to determine who is likely to thrive. Since 2015, the City University of New York (CUNY), serving over 250,000 students through 25 two- and four-year colleges, and high schools in the New York Performance Standards Consortium (the Consortium), which use performance-based assessments to assess student progress, have collaborated to add authentic evidence of student learning to the college admissions process.
Drawing on a data set that links data from the New York City Department of Education and the CUNY system, this report provides a statistical portrait of the progress of Consortium graduates attending CUNY, including a subset who were admitted to college based, in part, on performance assessments, student work, and teacher recommendations but who scored below the SAT cutoff score for CUNY admission to 4-year institutions.
The report describes the schools’ performance-based assessment system and how it functions within Consortium schools. It details how teachers and students collaborate to produce high-quality work and how teachers within each school and throughout the network collaborate to maintain and support the rigor and relevance of the assessment process. It describes how the work that students produce through these systems can inform college admissions and what the results of those admissions decisions were in this pilot, as measured through credit accumulation, college GPA, and college persistence. [Read the full report.]
Queering Family: The Family Acceptance Research Project (FARP)
A PARTICIPATORY ACTION RESEARCH PROJECT BY AND FOR LGBTQ+ YOUTH ABOUT FAMILY EXPERIENCES.
The project began with a concern about the high number of LGBTQ+ youth that were struggling with their families and a desire to better understand what kinds of supports would be helpful. We believe that LGBTQ+ youth have a lot to offer families and service providers looking to support LGBTQ+ youth. Our research centered their experiences and expertise, and we used our findings to create three zines – one of which you are holding right now! Each zine creatively represents important issues that families and youth deal with. We’ve also included resources and recommendations from our research.
We are a group of LGBTQ+* youth and adults that conducted a critical participatory action research (CPAR) project about the experiences LGBTQ+ youth have with family. Our work is a collaboration between The Public Science Project at The Graduate Center (CUNY), the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH), and the NYC UNITY project, which is dedicated to making NYC a better place for LGBTQ+ young people.