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School Closures Report: A Shell Game with Students

School Closures Report: A Shell Game with Students

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Published by Aja
New York Communities for Change report on School Closures
New York Communities for Change report on School Closures

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Published by: Aja on Feb 07, 2012
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02/07/2012

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IssueBriefSchoolClosures:AShellGamewithStudents
Overthepastdecade,MayorMichaelBloomberg’sDepartmentofEducationhasclosed117schoolsinNYC,including25schoolclosuresjustthisyear.
1
TheMayor’sschoolclosingpolicyisbecomingmoreshellgamethaneducationreform.Certainly,thereareinstancesinwhichclosureisthebestoptionforaschoolthatistoodysfunctionaltoimprove.However,undertheBloombergadministration,schoolclosurehassubstitutedforareal,comprehensivestrategytoimprovestrugglingschoolsservingthecity’shighest-needsstudents.Whenaschoolisclosed,theschoolsthatreplacethemoftendon’tservethesamepopulationsofstudents.Instead,manyofthenewlycreatedsmallschoolsservealowerpercentageofthehighest-needsstudents,especiallystudentsinself-containedspecialeducation,thanthelargecampusschoolstheyreplaced.
2
Becausethesestudentsfacesteepacademicchallenges,theyarelikelytobringdownaschool’sgraduationrate.
3
Belowareafewexamplesofthedisparitiesinpercentageofstrugglingstudentsatnewandclosedhighschools.
Table1:Highest-NeedsStudentsatNewSmallSchoolsvs.ClosedHighSchoolsTheyReplaced
 SchoolSelf-Contained SpecialEducation at the Large OldCampus SchoolsSelf-Contained SpecialEducation at the NewSchools on Campus
Morris High School 14% 2%Taft High School 13% 8%Rockaway High School 12% 2%Theodore Roosevelt High School 12% 6%South Bronx High School 11% 0%Adlai Stevenson High School 10% 4%South Shore High School 10% 1%Seward Park High School 9% 0%

1
Thisdoesnotincludethe33schoolswheretheMayorisproposingadifferentmodelforclosureinwhichschoolsreceiveanewnameand50%newstaff,butkeepthesamebuildingandstudents.
2
NYCDOE.2011ProgressReportResultsforHighSchools;2001-02StateSchoolReportCards.ThecurrentlyclosinghighschoolsontheStevenson(N=2),Taft(N=1)andRoosevelt(N=1)campusesweretakenoutoftheoverallcampusaverages.IfwealsosubtractedBronxHighSchoolofBusiness(oneofthe33PLAschools)outoftheaverage,thepercentofself-containedstudentsatthenewschoolsontheTaftCampuswouldfallto7%.
3
In2010,28%ofNYCstudentsinspecialeducationgraduatedfromhighschoolinfouryears,comparedto61%citywide.Thisratewouldbeevenlowerforstudentsinself-containedspecialeducation.
 
TherecentlyreleasedMDRCstudyonthenewsmallschools
4
missesanimportantpoint.Whileitiscommendablethatthenewsmallschoolsareproducinghighergraduationrates,itisnotclearthattheseschoolsservethesamepopulation.TheMDRCstudydoesnotincludestudentsinself-containedspecialeducationorcollaborativeteamteaching;theomissionofthosehigh-needsstudentslikelyincreasesgraduationratesinthenewsmallschools.
5
Furthermore,theMDRCreportdoesnotacknowledgethatsomeoftheveryhighest-needsstudents–homelessstudents,studentsfromjuveniledetentioncenters,andover-the-counterstudents–arelikelynottoparticipateinthesmallschoollotteries.Instead,thesestudentsarelikelytoendupatthelargecampushighschoolsthataredisproportionatelytargetedforclosure.Indeed,whenthenewsmallschools
do
servehighpopulationsofthehighest-needsstudents,theyarealsooftenslatedforclosure.Forexample,thetwonewsmallschoolsontheStevensonHighSchoolcampusthathavethehighestpercentagesofself-containedspecialeducationstudents–GatewayHighSchool(8%)andSchoolforCommunityResearchandLearning(10%)arenowbeingclosed.Similarly,theUrbanAssemblyAcademyforHistoryandCitizenshipforYoungMenontheTaftHighSchoolcampuswith13%ofstudentsinself-containedspecialeducation(thehighestrateonthatcampus)isbeingclosed.Nearlyhalf(11outof25)oftheschoolsslatedforclosurethisyearareschoolsopenedduringMayorBloomberg’sadministration,
6
acycleofclosurethatdamagesstudentsandcommunitieswithoutaccomplishinganyactualschoolimprovement.In2004,theNYCDepartmentofEducation(DOE)closedMS391inCrownHeights,where12%ofstudentsweremeetingstatestandardsinEnglishLanguageArts(ELA).ItwasreplacedwithMS587,wherethisyear13%ofstudentsmetstateELAstandards.NowtheDOEisclosingMS587,andopeningyetanotherschoolinthebuilding.Whatwillensurethatthenewschoolwilldoanybetter?
Table2:2011ClosingSchools
SchoolOpened Under Bloomberg?
Academy For Scholarship And Entrepreneurship: A College Board School
 YES (2005)
Academy Of Business And Community Development
 YES (2005)
Aspire Preparatory Middle School
 YES (2006)
Brooklyn Collegiate: A College Board School
 YES (2004)
Frederick Douglass Academy IV Secondary School
 YES (2002)

4
Bloom,Howard,S.,andRebeccaUnterman.2012.
SustainedPositiveEffectsonGraduationRatesProducedbyNewYorkCity’sSmallPublicHighSchoolsofChoice
.NewYork:MDRC.
5
TheMDRCreportstates:“Thissampleincludesspecialeducationstudentswhocanbetaughtintheregularclassroomsetting.SpecialeducationstudentsclassifiedbytheDOEasrequiringcollaborativeteamteachingservicesorself-containedclassesarenotpartofthesample.”
6
Listofclosingschools:http://gothamschools.org/2011/12/09/ten-more-struggling-schools-proposed-for-closure-or-truncation/.Schools’foundingyear:www.insideschools.org.
 
Gateway School For Environmental Research and Technology
 YES (2004)
General D. Chappie James Elementary School of Science
 YES (2008)
Grace Dodge Career And Technical Education High School
No
International Arts Business School
 YES (2003)
J.H.S. 296 The Halsey School
No
Jane Addams High School For Academic Careers
No
Knowledge and Power Preparatory Academy VII MS
 YES (2007)
Legacy School For Integrated Studies
No
Manhattan Theatre Lab High School
 YES (2004)
Middle School for the Arts
 YES (2004)
P.S. 14 Cornelius Vanderbilt
No
P.S. 161 The Crown
No
P.S. 19 Roberto Clemente
No
P.S. 215 Lucretia Mott
No
P.S. 22
No
P.S. 298 Dr. Betty Shabazz
No
Samuel Gompers Career And Technical Education High School
No
Satellite Three
No
Wadleigh Secondary School For the Performing and Visual Arts
No
Washington Irving High School
No
MayorBloombergandtheNewYorkCityDepartmentofEducationhaveknownsinceasearlyas2006thestepsnecessarytobothimprovebothgraduationratesandmeettheneedsofoverageandlow-performingstudents;thatyear,TheParthenonGroupcommissionedbytheNYCDOEissuedareportthatrecommendedspecificstepsforthereformofNewYorkCity’sschools.
7
TheParthenonReportfoundthatschoolsizeandconcentrationoflow-performingstudents,analyzedtogether,werestrongpredictorsofschoolsuccess.Thereportrecommendedbreakinglargehighschoolsintosmalleronesasonestrategytoaddressthisfinding,butitalsorecommendedreducingthenumberoflow-performingstudentsinlargehighschoolsbycappingtheconcentrationoflow-proficiencystudentsinanyoneschool,andmoreequitablydistributingthosestudentsacrosstheentiresystem.TheParthenonReportalsorecommendedanumberofotherstrategiestoincreaseschools’chancesforsuccess,suchasexpandedlearningtime,redesigning9
th
grade,andpartneringlow-andhigh-performingschoolstoprovidecollaborationandsupport.Despitetheserecommendationsfromtheirownconsultant,

7
Todownloadthereport,gotohttp://edvox.org/2011/02/18/the-story-behind-the-parthenon-report/.

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