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Closings Said Harmful

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School closings can be counterproductive, often doing more harm than good, argues a new report published by Stanford University.

Schools have been closed in the past to save money in periods of low enrollment and fiscal constraint. But "limited research on closures provides little evidence and little sense that school closings are always in the best interests of school officials, teachers, parents, and students," suggests Richard R. Valencia in a study released by Stanford's Institute for Research on Educational Finance and Governance.

Describing what he views as the myths of school closings, the researcher notes that students are not always better off in larger schools and that closings do not always guarantee reduced budgets because most school funds go to personnel costs, which are only slightly affected.

Further, case studies of multi-ethnic communities and court decisions suggest that districts do not always proceed fairly in their closure decisions, he maintains, noting that there is a connection between school closures and a potential decrease in community support for schools.

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