Phillip Oliff

2004 Public Policy Summer Fellow

May 1, 2004
Graduate Degree:Harvard Kennedy School
Undergraduate Degree:Wesleyan University
Area of interest:Education, minority test score disparities
Mentor:Professor Paul Reville, Harvard Graduate School of Education
Agency:Education Coalition of Greater Boston
Supervisor:Eileen McSwiney, Executive Director
Project Description:Phillip Oliff worked for the Education Collaborative for Greater Boston (EDCO), an organization representing 21 Boston-area public school districts. He assisted EDCO initiating a major research project investigating the racial achievement gaps within its member districts. The bulk of his work involved conducting interviews with an array of school personnel, including superintendents, principals, teachers and METCO directors. The purpose of the interviews was twofold. First they were designed to elicit a general sense of approaches to, and ways of thinking about the racial achievement gap within EDCO’s member districts. Second they were intended to gather information about best practices in educational interventions that might help to narrow the racial achievement gap. At the end of the summer Mr. Oliff wrote a major report detailing his findings and making recommendations as to how EDCO should proceed with its research initiative. The project aims to develop a better understanding of the racial achievement gap within EDCO member districts, to identify promising practices, to test them to see if they are effective and replicable, and to foster a spirit of cooperation.