Monday, January 30, 2012

Study Validates Replacement of Big Bad Schools With New Small Schools

Tom Vander Ark sent me this comment and post:


My post ( notes:

* the study dramatically underestimates benefit because it does not compare new school to big bad schools that Joel Klein closed (it compares them to other choices in NYC)

* these would have been better as charters, but the state had a cap in place

* Bob Hughes (and Dick Beatie) deserve a lot of credit.  


Here's Vander Ark's post:

Study Validates Replacement of Big Bad Schools With New Small Schools

January 25, 2012 - by Tom Vander Ark

Today MDRC released another study that conclusively proves that new small schools work.  That and the fact that every quality school developer in America still opens small schools should finally put to rest criticism about a failed experiment.  You'll never see a 3000 student KIPP.

Like the last study, the methodology missed the big impact by comparing new schools to other choices and not the schools they replaced.  In many cases the new schools had DOUBLE the graduation rate of disastrously bad schools closed by Joel Klein's administration.  Give some credit to Rudy Crew and Harold Levy for launching the differentiated approach to accountability and support.

It's also important to note that these new schools did not benefit from the additional flexibility that charter schools enjoy not by choice but because the state had cap in place.  These results would have been even better had there been more ability to restaff and restructure the schools.

Another missing part of this story is the leadership provided by Bob Hughes, New Visions for Public Schools, the largest and most successful intermediary of the last decade.  Bob's team helped identify and incubate most of the successful school developers.

Here's the tough medicine.  We still don't have reliable and robust improvement strategies for big bad high schools.  As this study proves, it's best to close and replace.

Bob Hughes, New Visions

 Subscribe in a reader