Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Where is Evidence that School Closures Actually Help? - Living in Dialogue

Where is Evidence that School Closures Actually Help? - Living in Dialogue:

Where is Evidence that School Closures Actually Help?

By John Thompson.
The latest report by the Education Research Association on New Orleans school reform, “Extreme Measures: When & How School Closures & Charter Takeovers Benefit Students, is consistent with the solid scholarship that informs its previous research. And it includes the important qualifying statement that, “prior evidence suggests that schools that are effective in generating high test scores are not consistently more effective with other student outcomes.” When the ERA released its landmark “What Effect Did the Post-Katrina Reforms Have on Student Outcomes?,” a diverse variety of scholars participated in the discussion of its findings. Moreover, previous research included qualitative research such as Huriya Jabbar’s “How Do School Leader’s Respond to Competition?” Fewer dissenting opinions were expressed when this new paper was released.
Fortunately, panelist Andre Perry articulated a broader view of the issues involved in evaluating school closures and takeovers in New Orleans and elsewhere. Perry explained that black people have already faced more than their share of punitive policies in terms of education, criminal justice, housing, and social welfare. He acknowledged that school closures and other state interventions are sometimes necessary. But, trust is required for school improvement and people of color can no longer trust the accountability-driven, technocratic experiments that are being imposed. Rather than tinker with the reward and punish approach of the last generation, we should focus on capacity-building.
Douglas Harris began his presentation with a mention of President Obama’s advocacy of school closures and takeovers. However, the President was not solely responsible for the misguided mass closure, turnaround, and transformation approach. It was the larger corporate reform community which pushed for the administration’s dubious Race to the Top (RttT), School Improvement Grant (SIG)s, and his other, risky, competition-driven policies. It was true-believers in charter schools and “disruptive innovation” that made the case to Obama that these experiments must be rapidly scaled up. Many of them will continue to use and misuse the ERA’s research to advance their agenda.
Harris’s characterization of closures and takeovers as “rare” is accurate, but they along with school Where is Evidence that School Closures Actually Help? - Living in Dialogue:
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