We found that for students already enrolled in a school that was later closed, the phase-out process did not have a systematic impact, positive or negative, on their attendance or academic performance. This held true whether they remained at the school throughout the phase-out process or transferred to another high school. However, we found that for rising 9th-grade students, the closure of their most likely high-school option led them to enroll in somewhat higher-performing high schools and substantially improved their likelihood of graduating with a New York State Regents diploma.
Our finding...suggest that high school closures in New York City during this particular period produced meaningful benefits for future students while not harming, at least academically, the students most immediately affected by them.Kemple follows two strands of data: outcomes for students who remained in their: 9th-grade school through the end of their scheduled 12th-grade year, or until they dropped out, and outcomes for students who transferred out. He finds that the pending closing of the school had no statistically significant adverse impacts on students who stayed..But students who transferred out had better outcomes. From his report:
Most notably, closures improved graduation rates for displaced students by 15.1 percentage points—with all of that improvement coming through a 17.4-percentage-point increase in the share of students earning more rigorous Regents diplomas. The closures also produced a net improvement in 9th-grade attendance rates and credit accumulation. Taken together, this is compelling evidence that students benefited from having a low-performing option eliminated from their high-school choice set.Two important caveats: first, during these school closures New York City was implementing a series of other school reforms like new accountability rules and interventions, so it’s not so easy to isolate the impact of school closures.
Although we found that students who likely would have attended the closed schools fared better elsewhere, they still did not fare well. On average, just 56 percent of these students graduated from high school within four years. This highlights deeply entrenched inequalities in New York City schools, where poor students of color lag far behind their more-privileged peers on a wide range of measures. Ultimately, whether or not closures are part of the policy framework in any district, there is a need to invest in vulnerable students and to identify structures and supports that maximize their odds of success.
Labels: Bloomberg, de Blasio, high school reform, New York