The closures of struggling New York City high schools yielded benefits for middle schoolers who might otherwise have enrolled there, according to a report released Thursday by NYU's Research Alliance for New York City Schools.
The report will likely provide ammunition for Mayor Bill de Blasio's education critics - chief among them charter school advocates - who say the city is harming students by not shuttering chronically struggling schools.
De Blasio and schools chancellor Carmen Fariña have said that under the nearly $400 million Renewal Schools program, they will close low-performing schools only as a last resort. They have said they will give struggling schools three years, or in some cases less time, to improve with academic interventions.
School closure was one of the most controversial aspects of former mayor Michael Bloomberg's sweeping education reforms, but the NYU study found the policy was largely effective for the students who would have attended those struggling high schools that were closed.If you don't subscribe, you can see similar stories in other media outlets.
Despite the backlash, high school graduation rates improved under Bloomberg, and this latest study suggests that individual students fared better as a result of the school closures. Former Bloomberg officials seized on the report as another vindication of their approach, while opponents such as the city teachers union downplayed the findings.From the Wall St. Journal:
The study from the Research Alliance for New York City Schools at New York University aims to add data to the highly charged issue of how to address the lowest-performing schools. In contrast to his predecessor, Mayor Bill de Blasio has said shutting struggling schools will be a last resort: A year ago, he announced a $150 million, three-year plan to turn around 94 “renewal schools” by adding social services, longer school days and teacher training, among other steps.No leader likes to close community schools. It's political kryptonite, a drop-dead trigger for allergic responses from special interest groups invested in traditional power structures. Former Mayor Mike Bloomberg closed 22 N.Y.C. high schools between 2003-2009 (Chalkbeat has a list) and certainly suffered political backlash. But how can an educational leader do anything else when incontrovertible evidence proves that the hard course is the right course?
Labels: de Blasio, farina, NYC, school reform