Secretary of Education Arne Duncan presided over the closing of dozens of failing schools when he was chief executive of the Chicago public schools from 2001 until last December. In his new post, he has drawn on those experiences, putting school turnaround efforts at the center of the nation’s education reform agenda.
Now a study by researchers at the University of Chicago concludes that most students in schools that closed in the first five years of Mr. Duncan’s tenure in Chicago saw little benefit.
“Most students who transferred out of closing schools re-enrolled in schools that were academically weak,” says the report, which was done by the university’s Consortium on Chicago School Research.
Furthermore, the disruptions of routines in schools scheduled to be closed appeared to hurt student learning in the months after the closing was announced, the researchers found.
The reading scores of students in schools designated for closing “showed a loss of about six weeks of learning” on standardized tests in the months after the closing announcement, the report said. Math scores declined somewhat less, it said.
Alan Singer has more.