While closing a school often sparks protests, and sometimes even legal action, a new study finds that school closures that took place in New York City between 2000 and 2014 “increased the odds that rising ninth-graders would attend a higher-performing high school, and substantially improved their likelihood of graduating high school with a New York State Regents diploma.” So writes Lauren Camera in US News.
Education officials in cities across the country have shuttered hundreds of schools in recent years – a phenomenon that’s been criticized for displacing students and doing away with the very buildings that often serve as the heart of a community.
The rationale behind the closings typically touches on poor academic performance, low enrollment and a lack of funding.
In New York City alone, 44 low-performing high schools were closed between 2000 and 2014 as part of efforts by then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the city’s schools chancellor, Joel Klein, to eliminate so-called dropout factories and improve education for students who would typically attend a failing school because they lived nearby.
James Kemple, the author of the study cited by Camera, writes that the study attempts to answer two questions:
Does the closure process harm students who are enrolled in a school while it is being phased out? Are future students better-off because a low-performing option has been eliminated?
The study on which the article is based, “School Closures in New York City: Did students do better after their high schools were closed?” appears in the Fall 2015 issue of Education Next.
Last updated August 4, 2016