The Research Alliance for New York City Schools at New York University announced its first executive director: James Kemple, former director of K-12 education policy at MDRC, a nonprofit social policy research group in New York. The Alliance is modeled on the Consortium on Chicago School Research at the University of Chicago. (An influential report on the Chicago experience, penned by the Consortium’s Melissa Roderick and John Easton, can be downloaded at the Alliance website.) Like the Consortium, the Alliance has worked out a data-sharing arrangement with New York City public schools that will enable researchers to better study the effectiveness of reform initiatives. Compared to the Consortium, the Alliance has evolved slowly, taking nearly three years to establish agreements with district and union leaders. Columbia University and New York University also wrestled over where the group would be located. The new venture is backed by a $3 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and a $500,000 grant from the Ford Foundation.