In the News: School Closures Controversial, but Potentially Beneficial

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.

She explains

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.

ednext-aug2016-blog-ototn-school-closuresJames 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.

-Education Next


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