When schools in New York City consistently failed generations of students, the Bloomberg Administration and Chancellor Joel Klein phased them out and replaced them with smaller schools.
Critics questioned whether the school closures benefited students. The evidence is now clearly in.
A new report from The Research Alliance for NYC Schools shows the policy had significant benefit for students. The report analyzed academic outcomes of 20,600 students who attended one of 29 high schools closed between 2003 and 2009.
The report’s findings include:
- High school students who stayed during the school phase-out had an 11% rise in graduation rates and a 23% bump amongst their peers earning a Regents diploma.
- Students who left the phase-out schools to attend other high school campuses had graduation rates that were 15% higher.
These new findings add to research released by New York University last year that found similar improvements in graduation and academic achievement for students after chronically failing schools were phased out.
Yet, despite the mounting evidence, Mayor de Blasio continues to ignore what works. He is allowing the city’s lowest performing schools to languish, even when they are doing great harm to students. The Mayor’s signature Renewal schools program has committed $400 million to turn around failing schools, but as the New York Times pointed out, the results are “hard to see.” In fact, at many of the schools, attendance, enrollment, and proficiency rates are down while staff turnover is up. Meanwhile, Mayor de Blasio’s administration continues to make it difficult for high-performing schools to open in communities that need them most.
The facts show the education reforms of the previous administration worked and provided better academic opportunities and outcomes for students across the city. New York City’s students need a leader who can learn from and embrace what works, not fight those policies at every turn.