Friday, October 20, 2017

Greenville County SAT Scores

In The Greenville News, and posted with hyperlinks and expanded on my blog:



Friday, September 29, 2017

Gaiman, Prisons, Literacy, and the Problems with Satire

Regarding my recent blog about Neil Gaiman for Secretary of Education (and the edited version at The Answer Sheet), Ken Libby took me to task on Twitter for, among other things, Gaiman’s comment about prisons and literacy:
I was once in New York, and I listened to a talk about the building of private prisons – a huge growth industry in America. The prison industry needs to plan its future growth – how many cells are they going to need? How many prisoners are there going to be, 15 years from now? And they found they could predict it very easily, using a pretty simple algorithm, based on asking what percentage of 10 and 11-year-olds couldn’t read. And certainly couldn’t read for pleasure.
It’s not one to one: you can’t say that a literate society has no criminality. But there are very real correlations.
My immediate point after quoting Gaiman was: “Gaiman even understands the difference between causation and correlation—a dramatic advantage over Secretaries of Education in the past two administrations.”
I have also received a friendly and much appreciated email from Chris Boynick addressing the same issue, noting that it is an urban legend that prisons use child literacy to predict prison needs. See “Prisons don’t use reading scores to predict future inmate populations” and “Kathleen Ford says private prisons use third-grade data to plan for prison beds.”
Boynick sent that same information to Neil Gaiman who responded on Twitter with: “@CBoynick Interesting. The person who told me that was head of education for New York city.”
So let me make a few clarifications addressing all this:
  1. My Gaiman piece is satire (and to be honest, that should put all this to rest). I don’t really endorse or want Gaiman as Secretary of Education, although I think Gaiman is brilliant (as one Gaiman fan noted, we don’t want to detract from his life as a writer!). My real point is the calamity that is those who have served at Secretaries of Education—especially in the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations.
  2. Nonetheless, Gaiman only relays a fact: He did hear this stated as a truth. So maybe we can level some blame at his believing this, but apparently a person with some authority who should have known the truth did state this in front of Gaiman.
  3. Has Gaiman, then, been a victim (like many of us) of an urban legend? It appears so.
  4. But, does Gaiman then make some outlandish or flawed claim based on misinformation? Not at all. In fact, I highlighted that Gaiman immediately made a nuanced claim: “It’s not one to one: you can’t say that a literate society has no criminality. But there are very real correlations.” And that claim helps him move into a series of powerful and valid points. I should emphasize that most politicians and political appointees start with misinformation and then make ridiculous and flawed proposals. On that comparison, Gaiman wins.
And for good measure, I suggest “Do prisons use third grade reading scores to predict the number of prison beds they’ll need?” by Joe Ventura, which addresses the urban legend, concluding with an important point relevant to this non-issue about Gaiman’s speech and my blog:
Perhaps it’s best to call this a distortion of the truth. While there isn’t evidence of State Departments of Corrections using third- (or second- or fourth-) grade reading scores to predict the number of prison beds they’ll need in the next decade (one spokesperson called the claim “crap”), there is an undeniable connection between literacy skills and incarceration rates.
You see, a student not reading at his or her grade level by the end of the third grade is four times less likely to graduate high school on time–six times less likely for students from low-income families. Take that and add to it a 2009 study by researchers at Northwestern University that found that high school dropouts were 63 times (!) more likely to be incarcerated than high school grads and you can start to see how many arrive at this conclusion.
But once incarcerated, not all hope is lost. In fact, literacy instruction can help on both ends of the correctional system; studies have shown that inmates enrolled in literacy and other education programs can substantially reduce recidivism rates. One study of 3,000 inmates in Virginia found that 20% of those receiving support in an education program were reincarcerated, while 49% not receiving additional support returned to prison after being released.
So, while prison planners do not use third grade reading scores to determine the number of prison beds they’ll need in the decade to come, there is a connection between literacy rates, high school dropout rates, and crime. While we should file this claim as an urban legend, let’s recognize why it resonates with us: it speaks to the important ways that poor reading skills are connected with unfavorable life outcomes [his emphasis].
With that, I rest my case: Gaiman’s speech is overwhelming on target, moving, and brilliant, and he deserves a bit of space for a small error of fact, and the current Secretary of Education is incompetent.
This leads me to wonder why so much concern about one detail in an author’s speech and my satirical blog, but so little concern for the incompetence of the Secretary of Education and the entire education agenda at the USDOE.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

July 2016 #BlackLivesMatter Reader (UPDATED)

White on White Crime: An Unspoken Tragedy

July 2016 #BlackLivesMatter Reader (UPDATED)


New SAT Yields Higher Scores, But Don't Be Fooled

New SAT Yields Higher Scores, But Don't Be Fooled

The number of students taking the SAT has hit an all-time high, but how well they’re doing is a bit of mystery.
The College Board released its annual performance report on Tuesday, which shows that 1.8 million students in the graduating class of 2017 took the exam, more than in any previous class. They scored an average of 527 in math and 533 in reading and writing. Each section is measured on a 200-800 scale.
But the College Board didn’t release year-to-year performance changes as it typically does. That’s because 1.7 million students—93 percent of the class of 2017—took the redesigned SAT that debuted in March 2016. It’s a different test, on a different scale, so the scores from the two years aren’t equivalent, they said.
This year’s scores reflect students’ performance only on the new SAT. Last year’s—508 in math, 494 in reading, and 482 in writing—reflect performance only on the old SAT.
In redesigning the SAT, the College Board aimed to build a more straightforward test that reflects the strengths students will need for college. It dumped obscure vocabulary words in favor of requiring students to justify their answers. It covers fewer math topics, but in more depth. It’s also shorter, with no penalty for wrong answers.
What appear to be big scoring increases should be understood not as sudden jumps in achievement, but as reflections of the differences in the test and the score scale, psychometricians said. Even though the numerical scale—200 to 800 for each section—is the same, a 425 on the new test measures a different level of achievement than a 425 on old test, they said.
It was a tricky year for college admissions officers, whose work included reviewing applications from students who had taken both the old and new versions of the SAT. Many admissions officers used concordance tables supplied by the College Board to understand how scores from the old test related to scores from the new one.
“We all noticed how much higher the scores from the new SAT were,” said Jennifer Winge, the dean of admissions at Wooster College in Ohio, said of the scores she saw coming in.
A College Board representative warned Winge and her staff to anticipate higher scores overall on the new test, she said. But she didn’t quite trust the conversion tables, and that made it tough to figure out how much weight to assign the new SAT scores in admission and scholarship decisions, she said.
“Frankly, the whole process just pushed us further into our consideration of going test-optional,” Winge said.
The 2017 SAT scores show inequities similar to those of earlier years. Asian (1181), white (1118), and multiracial (1103) students score far above the average composite score of 1060, while Hispanic (990) and African-American (941) students score significantly below it.
Because the new test is reported for two sections instead of three, the maximum composite score a student can get is now 1600 rather than 2400 for the previous version.
Likewise, scores continue to correlate with family educational background. The composite average score of students whose parents have bachelor’s degrees (1118) far outstrips the average of students whose parents have only a high school diploma (1003).

Readiness Benchmarks

Only 46 percent of students met the minimum scores that the College Board has correlated with a good likelihood of succeeding in entry-level, credit-bearing college coursework. Even in the transition years when the old SAT is being replaced by the new, and quantifying score changes is elusive, that’s still bad news, said Phillip Lovell, the policy director of the Alliance for Excellent Education, which focuses on high school improvement.
“Less than half of our kids meeting the college-readiness benchmark? That’s just not good. And it’s not sustainable” in a country that is striving for better college outcomes, he said.
More students are taking the SAT largely because the College Board has been pushing hard to win contracts with entire states or districts. Under those agreements, all students can take the college-admission test for free, or are required to take it, a move often aimed at increasing college access and enrollment. A recent study found that college-enrollment increases among low-income students in states that offer the SAT or ACT for free. Also, increasingly, states are choosing college-entrance exams as their official way to measure student achievement at the high school level.
College Board officials announced an expansion of that contract work. Starting in December, they said, schools—not just districts and states—can negotiate contracts to administer the SAT during the school day.
The contract battle between ACT and the College Board showed big gains for the College Board this year. Participation in its “school day” program rose from 458,000 in 2015-16 to 800,000 in 2016-17, powered in part by Michigan’s decision to switch from the ACT to the SAT.
The ACT currently has contracts with 19 states, and is still the nation’s most popular college-admission test: 2.03 million students in the class of 2017 took it. The College Board has contracts with 10 states, the District of Columbia, and more than 250 districts. But company officials said they anticipate 200,000 more students in their testing pool next year, which could make the two exams about equal in popularity.

Building the Pipeline

The College Board is working to build business not just with the SAT, but with a suite of PSAT tests. There are now three PSAT tests in the suite: the redesigned PSAT, aimed at 11th grade students; the PSAT 10, and the PSAT 8/9. Figures released by the College Board show a modest one-year increase for the PSAT and the PSAT 10: 4.3 million students, 46,000 more than in 2016-17. But the PSAT 8/9 showed a big gain, 47 percent, up to a total of 1.3 million students in 2016-17.
Average scores on the PSAT exams rose in all grade levels, according to the College Board. The company envisions the collection of PSAT and SAT exams, along with its “official SAT practice” provided free, online, by Khan Academy, as a way schools can shift focus from short-term test prep to building instructional strength over time.
“We do not believe that a one-time test at the end of students’ careers will change things,” David Coleman, the College Board CEO, told reporters in a conference call last week. “We are more interested in sustained work that changes students’ trajectories. That won’t come in narrow spurts of last-minute preparation.”
James S. Murphy, who tracks changes in testing as the director of national outreach for the Princeton Review, which offers test-preparation courses, said that in its increasing emphasis on the PSAT and SAT tests, the College Board is downplaying the SAT subject tests, which have been declining in popularity, and were dropped from this year’s score report.
“It just shows their shifting priorities,” Murphy said.
Doubts persist about using a college-admissions exam as a measure of student achievement, in part because of who takes the test—and who doesn’t.
Lauress Wise, the former president of the National Council on Measurement in Education, an association of psychometricians, said an accurate measure of achievement requires giving a test to a nationally representative pool of test-takers who take the exam under the same circumstances.
With both the SAT and the ACT, he noted, some students in the pool chose to take the test, while others, in entire states or districts, were required to take it as part of a testing contract.
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Monday, September 11, 2017

Diversity Awareness Quizzes

Are you being fooled? I designed the Awareness Quizzes to challenge some of the false information floating around about difference and equity in the United States and the world.
Equity and Diversity Awareness Quiz (2017)
Downloadable Version of the Quiz in PDF Format
Downloadable ANSWER KEY in PDF Format.
Learn how to use the Equity and Diversity Awareness Quiz in a class or workshop.
Classism and Poverty Awareness Quiz (2013)
Downloadable Version of the Class and Poverty Quiz
Downloadable ANSWER KEY in PDF Format.
Who Said It?: A Re-Perception Quiz (2013)
This quiz contains quotations related to equity, diversity, and social justice. Quiz takers try to guess who, among the multiple choice options, uttered the words. Be prepared for suprises.
Downloadable Version of the Who Said It? Quiz in PDF Format
Downloadable ANSWER KEY in PDF Format.
Digital Sexism Quiz (2009)
Downloadable Version of the Digital Sexism Quiz in PDF Format
Downloadable ANSWER KEY in PDF Format.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Public School Officials Are Artificially Inflating Graduation Rates. I've Seen It Myself

Public School Officials Are Artificially Inflating Graduation Rates. I've Seen It Myself

Fraudulent graduation practice give the false sense of progress

In the age of accountability ushered in by the No Child Left Behind law in 2002 and continued under 2015's Every Student Succeeds Act, many school officials are using fraudulent methods to inflate graduation rates.
As a direct result of a public thirst for schools to show progress, boards of education pressure superintendents, superintendents squeeze principals, principals ride teachers, and teachers stress students. The ultimate measure of progress for schools nationwide is high school graduation rates.
Public school officials use a variety of schemes to give the appearance of progress.
Public School Officials Are Artificially Inflating Graduation Rates: Fraudulent graduation practices give a false sense of educational progress, charges former New York City administrator Bernard Gassaway.
—Vanessa Solis/Getty
Credit recovery is one strategy that school officials use to allow students to quickly make up for classes they have failed, without receiving formal instruction. Credit recovery is a national practice, though it may be called something else. In fact, "credit recovery" is a broad term that encompasses multiple strategies, some more effective than others. Blended learning, virtual learning, after-school programs, summer school, weekend school, and night school are all credit-recovery strategies.
I experienced the worst of this practice when I became principal of New York City's Boys and Girls High School in 2009. One student was told by his teacher to complete about five handouts to make up for a summer school art course. Instead of attending class, that student was allowed to participate in a basketball tournament in Las Vegas. (I denied the student credit and eliminated this abusive practice.)
Also, students with disabilities often have a lower threshold for meeting graduation requirements. Some school officials resort to reclassifying struggling students to increase their graduation rates. By reclassifying general education students, they become eligible for a lower graduation threshold. In the case of New York state, students with individualized education plans are currently required to pass a single English- and a single math-exit exam to meet graduation requirements, rather than the five such exams that are required for general education students.
"Public school officials use a variety of schemes to give the appearance of progress."
In my experience, school officials entice parents to become complicit, as officials encourage them to request for their children a plan under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which includes a more expansive definition of disability than is protected under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. That 504 plan allows certain general education students to receive some of the same accommodations that students with IEPs receive: extended time; having the exam read to them; and, in select cases, even a lower score threshold to pass exit exams.
Lastly, when education officials cannot use any of the aforementioned tactics to get struggling students through high school, they transfer or push out students who are off-track for graduation—dropping the dead weight that is dragging down graduation statistics. Pushing students out is the most efficient way to increase a school's graduation rate. Principals transfer overage and undercredited students to alternative schools.
That, too, is an abusive practice I've observed firsthand. Here's how it works: Principals and guidance counselors tell students they must leave the school if they want to graduate. Students are persuaded to transfer to alternative schools under the guise that it is easier for them to earn credits and graduate. In some cases, those same school personnel even inform students that they are not allowed to return, thus rendering these schools no longer accountable for the students' performance indicators.
In New York, state education officials reported an increase in the 2015 high school graduation rate to 78 percent, a slight rise from the previous year's. In 2016, that number increased to 79.4 percent, coinciding with the introduction of the New York state regents' new graduation requirements. The state's standardized high school exam offers new graduation standards for students with disabilities by reducing the number of exit examinations from five to two. Once standards have been lowered and the rigor associated with the new requirements lessened, these seemingly better graduation numbers are no longer valid measures of students' achievement.
It is time for state education officials to act morally and provide specific guidance to local school districts to stop these known abusive and fraudulent practices, which ultimately harm the very children whom schools are supposed to serve.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

This Is Not Just Another Essay About Race

This Is Not Just Another Essay About Race

American education is rooted in inequity. Here’s what teachers can do about that

As educators, we believe that all students deserve access to a high-quality education to promote future opportunities in life. However, if we do not embrace critical thought in our pedagogy, we will continue to perpetuate systems that advantage some students over others. My intention is not to have you read this as just another essay about race. Instead, I hope to provide an argument for educators to challenge the status quo of the classroom every day to achieve our desired goal of reaching all students.
As an African-American male, my first teaching assignment was in a predominantly white school. While I thoroughly enjoyed my time teaching there, I wondered why I never received training on how to teach white children. Certainly, the white children in my class did not look like me nor did they share my background. Still, I was expected to teach them and teach them well. There was no professional development on how to reach the white students I was then teaching, yet our profession is steeped in professional development on how to reach "culturally diverse" students.
Of course, I had no problem teaching them without additional training on diversity or cultural competence. After all, my experiences with the culturally dominant ideals in my own educational journey prepared me for that task. That is just one example of how schools operate to the advantage of some students and not others: Schools are built around American ideals—that is, the values and sensibilities of white culture.
Some may dispute the notion that white ideals—or hidden privilege—pervade our education system, but I have experienced it firsthand. As an elementary school teacher, I remember being annoyed with a social studies textbook that eloquently and painstakingly described the "triangle trade" and traders who sold people and goods in the New World, but was silent on the human realities of this brutal system. What was missing was the depravity of slavery, the lives lost on the journey, and the sting of the whip. What was missing was the devastation experienced by the people who lived in the Americas prior to Europeans ravaging their way of life. Even more troubling was the lack of humanity bestowed on these "others" in history.
I remember my students being awestruck that slaves even had names when I read excerpts from the autobiography of Olaudah Equiano, a formerly enslaved abolitionist from the 18th century. I was heartbroken when a student asked why slaves would continue to have children when they were treated so poorly. All students are able to think critically and challenge the white-centric narrative that is so inescapable in our schools and textbooks, but they must be given the opportunity.
I was myself recently confronted with how blinding hidden privilege can be. I wasn't able to understand why some people in our society refuse to acknowledge the concept of privilege until I was confronted with the recognition of my own male privilege.
During an adjunct teaching course, I encouraged my college students, most of whom were women, to share their life experiences. I was horrified by what they had to say. Students explained their struggles with their body image, their sense of feeling unsafe walking in public, and how they were constantly harassed. Some even spoke of being assaulted by men. My initial reaction was defensiveness, as I tried to explain away those painful events. I thought, if they didn't dress a certain way and if they were more modest, those things wouldn't have happened to them. Fortunately, I kept this to myself and instead reflected on what they said so I could get a better understanding of how they might have felt.
"Schools are built around American ideals—that is, the values and sensibilities of white culture."
In the course of that private reflection, I was able to make meaningful connections to gender and race while reading the work of critical theorists who helped me develop my critical thinking, which I later used in my own instructional practices. Such luminaries of critical pedagogy as Paulo Freire, Henry Giroux, and Antonia Darder have something to offer every educator, not just those who teach in "culturally diverse" classrooms. As a man, I had to come to the realization that I enjoyed certain privileges at the expense of women being degraded, objectified, and exploited. That was not an easy revelation, but the truth often hurts. Upon this realization, I started to become more observant of the structures that serve to oppress women in society.
I continued to listen to my students, but with a more open mind. I tried my hardest to listen to understand instead of looking to explain away their stories and histories. After all, who would know more about the experience of women than women?
It is in this listening to understand that I believe holds promise for our profession and the future of our students. As educators, we must reflect on what we accept as truths without truly applying critical thinking. We must work to challenge those truths. Ask yourself how teachers in your school would answer these questions:
• Does your school recognize student differences or does your school treat everyone the same? In other words, does your school enforce equality at the expense of equity?
• Are students challenged to think critically about events in history or are they taught to embrace a romanticized version of historical events?
• Do the teachers reflect on their pedagogy and modify their pedagogy based on the learning styles of all their students?
• Are the teachers aware of their students' cultures beyond stereotypes and of their students on an individual level?
Now, ask yourself how the students in your school would answer those questions. It is not enough to host a culture day or incorporate "ethnic" music in the classroom. Before our students will understand us, we must first walk in their shoes to understand them, regardless of the racial, cultural, or gender barriers that divide us. We must shed our preconceived notions and embrace a willingness to listen, observe, embrace hard truths, and reflect before we can even start to make meaningful changes that will have a lasting impact on the lives of all our students. That is my goal for this year, and I hope you will join me on this journey.
Vol. 37, Issue 01, Page 27
Published in Print: August 23, 2017, as This Is Not Just Another Essay About Race

Friday, August 25, 2017

Closing Failing Schools Doesn't Help Most Students, Study Finds

Closing Failing Schools Doesn't Help Most Students, Study Finds

Discarded furniture and textbooks litter an abandoned classroom in the old Crispus Attucks School on Chicago’s South Side. The school was closed in 2008 and reopened in a new location nearby as the Crispus Attucks Academy. New research finds that most students who attend schools that are shut down for low academic achievement don't end up in schools that are better.
Discarded furniture and textbooks litter an abandoned classroom in the old Crispus Attucks School on Chicago’s South Side. The school was closed in 2008 and reopened in a new location nearby as the Crispus Attucks Academy. New research finds that most students who attend schools that are shut down for low academic achievement don't end up in schools that are better.
—Jon Lowenstein/NOOR for Education Week-File
 | Updated: August 24, 2017
Black students and low-income children are more likely to attend schools that get shut down for poor performance, and the majority of students who are displaced by closures do not end up in better schools.
But for those students who landed in better schools, their academic progress outpaced that of students in low-performing schools that remained open, according to new research released Thursday by the Center for Research and Education Outcomes, CREDO, at Stanford University. And the academic gains on test scores were particularly significant for black and Latino students who ended up in better schools. Most striking was the finding for Hispanic students: Those who ended up higher-performing schools gained the equivalent of 74 additional days of learning in math.
Those findings—from one of the largest studies to date on how shuttering schools affects student achievement—back up smaller, more localized research on the fraught and controversial practice of closing schools.
The study, which looked at both charter and regular public schools in 26 states between the 2006-07 and 2012-13 academic years, found that most school closures during that period—69 percent in both sectors—were in urban areas. Twenty percent of the schools that were shut down were in suburban areas. Both supporters and opponents of shutting down public schools are likely to see findings in the study to fortify their arguments.
Kaitlin Banner, the deputy director of the Advancement Project’s Ending the Schoolhouse to Jailhouse Track Project, said the findings on the disparate impact for black and Latino students were consistent with what the civil rights group has heard from communities in which it works.
“Our partners have found that school closings aren’t the answer,” Banner said. “They often do not have a say ... students are sent out into various communities, they have high transportation needs, and they are unable to really access the quality of education that school closures seem to promise to them.”

Most Students Don't End Up in Better Schools

In both the charter and regular public school sectors, black and Hispanic students were more likely to be in closed schools. Among regular public schools, low-performing schools with higher poverty rates were more likely to be closed than low-performing schools with fewer low-income students, according to the report.
Less than half of students from closed schools ended up in schools that were better than the ones they left behind as measured by their performance on state tests, according to the study. But a higher percentage of charter school students landed in better schools than their peers at regular public schools, an indication, researchers posited, that charter school parents are more experienced at seeking out different schooling options.
Students who left before the low-performing schools were closed had a better shot of landing in a better school, the study said.
Researchers said they hope that the report would provide evidence to help inform the often emotional and contentious debate around school closures as a means to improve achievement, particularly with the addition of data on the academic performance of students over time.
Closing low-performing schools seemed to be inevitable, given that other school improvement strategies have not had widespread success, the researchers wrote. But their findings show that the practice in and of itself does not lead to higher performance: students must have better schools to go to, and alternatives are often limited.
Advocates argue that closing low-performing schools gives students who would otherwise be stuck in those schools the opportunity to attend a higher-performing school. Students who moved to better schools did better academically than those in other low-performing schools that remained open, the study found. In regular public schools, for example, students who moved to higher-performing schools saw the equivalent of 11 extra days of learning in reading.
Greg Richmond, the president and CEO of the National Association of Charter School Authorizers, said the report underscores the need for more quality charter schools.
“The fact remains that school closure is an essential part of the charter bargain that recognizes educating children is a privilege, one that every school should continually earn,” he said in a statement. “No school should have a perpetual right to exist, especially schools that consistently fail to educate children.”
The finding that closure patterns varied based on race and socio-economic status was troubling and should serve “as a wake-up call to examine our practices to ensure all schools and students are being treated equitably,” he said.
“Authorizers have a responsibility to give all students—especially underserved populations—equal access to quality charter schools,” he said.
On the other side of the debate, opponents and some civil rights groups argue that the burden of school closures falls disproportionately on poor, black, and Hispanic students. The study did bear that out—and researchers said such concerns about equity should be an integral part of the decision-making process. But it also found that schools that were closed displayed low-academic performance and low enrollment up to three years leading up to the closure and that they performed significantly worse in math and reading than those that stayed open.
Chicago has closed dozens of schools over the last decade, including the former Crispus Attucks Schools which was shut down in 2009 and reopened in a new location as the Crispus Attucks Academy.
Chicago has closed dozens of schools over the last decade, including the former Crispus Attucks Schools which was shut down in 2009 and reopened in a new location as the Crispus Attucks Academy.
—Jon Lowenstein/NOOR for Education Week-File

Most Low-Performing Schools Remain Open

Still, only a small fraction of the low-performing schools identified during the period studied were closed: 5.5 percent for charters compared to 3.2 percent for regular public schools. That means that thousands of students continued to go to schools where the average math and reading scores were in the bottom 20 percent on state assessments for two years—the definition the researchers used for low-performing.
Across the 26 states included in the study, researchers identified 1,522 low-performing schools. Seventy-nine percent were regular public schools; the rest were charters.
The study also found significant differences in how charter operators and regular public school districts or states dealt with their lowest-performing schools. While authorities who oversee charter schools shut down their lowest-performing schools at a higher rate than their counterparts in the regular public school sector, according to the report, the sector still allowed other low-performing charters to continue operating despite contracts that often contain language about specific achievement targets.
“In this sense, charter authorizers’ determination and practice of shutting down low-performing schools still fell short of the stipulation in their contract with charter schools, although they were more likely to close poor-performing schools relative to districts,” the researchers wrote. “Meanwhile, districts were evidently tolerant of low levels of, and deterioration in, performance and enrollment.”
RELATED BLOG


In raw numbers, more elementary schools closed, but middle schools had the highest rate of closure in both sectors, according to the report.
The study also found that charter schools had a higher, though not statistically significant, rate of closure before the Obama administration’s $7 billion School Improvement Grant program, which provided several options, including closures, to turn around chronically low-performing schools. There was no significant change in the closure rate for traditional public schools before and after the implementation of the SIG program, the report said.
A January study by The Institute of Education Sciences found that the SIG program did not lead to significant gains in reading and math for students whose schools got the funds, when compared with low-performing schools that were not in the program.

Related Video

School closings can be disruptive for students and communities. In this June 2017 video, reporter Denisa Superville shares data from the Urban Institute on where schools are closing and which students are likely to be affected:



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