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Leaders of White House Initiative Take Aim at Achievement Gap at NYU Wagner Event

Leaders of White House Initiative Take Aim at Achievement Gap at NYU Wagner Event

More than 150 people attended “Bridging the Gap,” a panel discussion at NYU Wagner featuring leaders of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence and other change makers.

The forum on policy and practice opportunities to narrow the achievement gap for students of color was organized by the school’s Wagner Education Policy Student Association; the Association of Latin@s and Allies in Public Service; and the Black Student Association.

Among the panelists was David Johns, Executive Director, White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans, who emphasized that programs in early childhood learning and high school dropout prevention are important levers for improving educational outcomes for people of color.

Involvement at the community-based level is also key, he said.

“Policy is but a tool,” explained Johns. “How do we leverage to ensure every adult who meets our children has the competency and the support to get them where they need to go?”

In addition to Johns, the panelists at "Bridging the Gap: Actualizing Educational Achievement for Students of Color," included:

Marco Davis, Deputy Director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics

Khemeneck Patin, Senior Policy Advisor for the NYC Young Men’s Initiative

Derrell Bradford, Executive Director for the New York Campaign for Achievement Now

Jessica Coffrin-St. Julien, Board Member and Governance Committee Chair for MASA New York

The October 30 discussion in the Rudin Family Forum for Civic Dialogue was moderated by NYU Steinhardt's Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership Dr. Edward Fergus.


Leading Indian banker describes the blueprint for a banking revolution in rural India

Leading Indian banker describes the blueprint for a banking revolution in rural India

The NYU Microfinance Initiative and the Financial Access Initiative (FAI) directed by NYU Wagner Professor Jonathan Morduch co-sponsored a rare opportunity for New York University graduate students and representatives from a range of Wall Street institutions to hear first-hand about the introduction of financial services in rural India from Nachiket Mor, a leading Indian banker who is Chairman of the IMFR Trust and President of the  ICICI Foundation. Among those attending the event were representatives from such financial institutions as Standard & Poor's and Pro Mujer, and members of NYU Stern's Social Enterprise Association, Emerging Markets Association, and South Asian Business Association.

Mor, who as former Depurty Managing Director of ICICI helped lead the largest private bank and second largest bank in India, was introduced by Thomas Cooley, Dean of NYU Stern, and Professor Morduch, Managing Director of the FAI and Professor of Public Policy and Economics at the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at NYU.  

In his presentation, Mor spoke of how the IFMR Trust, a for-profit holding company, is bringing financial services that are "continuous, reliable, flexible and convenient" to some of the poorest districts in India, aiming to build a 300-bank infrastructure.  That ideal comes from a vision for microfinance in India that Professor Morduch has co-published, in part inspiring Mor's work in this area.

The goal, Mor explained, is to offer 14 financial products, including ATMs, while paying the highest interest rate on savings and offering the lowest rate on loans.  (The interest rate on savings of 9% is three times higher than the going rate.) The first bank opened June 1, 2008 in  Tanjore, with 15 more planned.

Mor is using the US banking system as a model, but watching the sub-prime melt-down closely for lessons learned.  In particular, he is paying attention to transparency and who holds the risk of the loan originator.  He promises that the banks will stay in markets that are entered. By providing access to financial services where no alternative exists, Mor expects to markedly change lives - of those who work in the banking system as well as those who use its services.

Following his visit to NYU Stern, Nachiket Mor returned with Jonathan Morduch to the Wagner School, home of the Financial Access Initiative. He met there with Professor  Morduch and senior FAI staff members Caitlin Weaver and  Aparna Dalal about collaborative projects. In August, Weaver and Dalal met with Mor and his staff in India. Weaver visited Mor's new project in Tanjore. 


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