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The New Marketplace

The New Marketplace

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Published by GothamSchools.org

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Published by: GothamSchools.org on Jun 17, 2009
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June 2009
The New Marketplace
How Small-School Reformsand School Choice Have ReshapedNew York City’s High Schools
e Center for New York City A 
airs is dedicated toadvancing innovative public policies that strengthenneighborhoods, support families and reduce urbanpoverty. Our tools include rigorous analysis; journalisticresearch; candid public dialogue with stakeholders; andstrategic planning with government o
cials, nonprofitpractitioners and community residents. Andrew White, DirectorCarin Mirowitz, Deputy DirectorKim Nauer, Education Project DirectorClara Hemphill, Senior EditorKendra Hurley, Associate Editor Aditi Anand, CoordinatorRajeev Yerneni, Research AssociateMaibe González Fuentes, David Howe,
omas Jacobs, John Kelly, Arpan Munier, Daniel Stephen Orrell,Research AssistantsEdited by Andrew WhiteDesigned by Michael Fusco, michaelfuscodesign.com Additional reporting and analysis by Maibe GonzálezFuentes, Helaine Olen, Daniel Stephen Orrell, JessicaSiegel and Rajeev Yerneni.
e Center for New York City A 
Schools Watch
 project is made possible thanks to the generous support of the Sirus Fund, the United Way of New York City,the Ira W. DeCamp Foundation and the RobertSterling Clark Foundation.Copyright © 2009
e New SchoolCenter for New York City A 
airs72 Fifth Avenue, 6th floorNew York, NY 10011Tel 212.229.5418Fax 212.229.5335centernyc@newschool.edu www.centernyc.org
1 Executive Summary5 Recommendations From the Field8 The Graduation Challenge: What’s Next for NYC’sHigh Schools?14 Handle With Care: The New Small Schools24 Second Chances: Using Credit Recovery31 Help Wanted: Small School Staff Turnover35 Collateral Damage: Large Schools Suffered42 Case Study: Tilden High School44 Case Study: New Utrecht High School46 Case Study: Truman High School48 Midsize Schools: Best of Both Worlds?52 Winners and Losers: High School Choice59 Culture Shock: Immigrants and Choice62 Unmet Needs: Special Education63 No Transfers Allowed: Perils of Choice66 Sources and Resources68 Advisory Board and Acknowledgments
2 Total Citywide High School Population SY 2002–03 to 2007–083 NYC Four-Year Graduation Rates: Class of 1997 to Class of 20074 Incoming Ninth-Grade Pro
ciency Levels by School Size9 Class of 2007 Diploma Breakdown by Four-Year Graduation Rate10 Class of 2007 Map: Regents and Local Diploma Graduation Rate11 Class of 2007 Map: Regents Diploma Graduation RateComparison12 Eighth-Grade Pro
ciency and Regents Diploma Rates16 Comparing Four-Year Graduation Rates: New Small Schools19 Comparing School Outcomes for At-Risk Students21 The New Small Schools: Clouds on the Horizon28 At-Risk Students: Percent of Total Population by School Size29 At-Risk Students: Citywide Distribution by School Size32 The New Small Schools: Teacher Experience Pro
le33 Teacher Turnover by School Size37 Large Schools: Possible Effects of a Bubble in Enrollment41 Large School Closings: A Possible Domino Effect?49 Potential Bene
ts of Midsize Schools61 How to Apply to High School in New York City
his report looks at how two major initiatives of New York City Schools Chancellor Joel Kleinhave a
ected students who are most at risk of dropping out of school: the creation of 200 new small high schools and the expansion of high school choice.Klein, who, before becoming chancellor, was best known for his antitrust work against Microsoftas a Justice Department prosecutor, has long maintained that competition is a fundamental tool forimproving the school system. In his seven years as chancellor, he has sought to break up the monopoly of large, zoned high schools that served students from the city’s working-class and low-incomeneighborhoods and replace them with a marketplace of small schools with a wide array of themesranging from civil rights to environmental research, hospitality and tourism, and medical science. Heexpanded the city’s already extensive system of school choice, forced schools to compete against oneanother for students and tested the idea that the best schools would flourish while the worst wouldeventually close. Since 2002, he has ordered 21 large high schools closed for poor performance andpromised to close more in coming years.
e Center for New York City A 
airs’ 18-month investigation by a team of 10 reporters, researchersand editors found that these reforms did, in fact, expand opportunities for many high school students,including the most vulnerable. Yet some of the early small-school gains are starting to erode, and thecore policies of school choice and large-school closings have had a harmful impact on thousands of students, including many who continue to attend large high schools. Among the administration’s successes are these: A substantial number of students who might otherwisehave dropped out of large, dysfunctional high schools have instead remained in school thanks to themore personalized settings of the new small schools. Graduation and attendance rates at the new schools are both significantly higher than at the large schools they replaced and have contributed to anoverall increase in the citywide graduation rate since 2002. While some critics have suggested that the small schools “creamed” the large schools’ best students,especially in their early years, the center found that the small schools, on average, now enroll roughly the same proportion of students who could be described as at-risk of dropping out as the system as
The New Marketplace
How Small-School Reforms and School ChoiceHave Reshaped New York City’s High Schools

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