N.Y.C. Small-Schools Push Found to Hurt Big High Schools
Replacing large, underperforming high schools in New York City with dozens of small new ones has kept many teenagers from dropping out, a new study has found , but also has lowered graduation and attendance rates at some of the remaining large schools by diverting hundreds of at-risk students into their classrooms.
The report, issued Wednesday by the New School’s Center for New York City Affairs , examines the impact of one of the signature initiatives of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and his schools chancellor, Joel I. Klein, since 2002: closing 21 big high schools and opening nearly 200 smaller secondary schools. New York has a decades-long history of opening small schools, but the pace skyrocketed in the past seven years under the Bloomberg administration as it sought to improve student engagement, boost achievement, and maximize choice.
A team of researchers from the New School spent 18 months studying data and interviewing school staff members, parents, and students to produce the report. While they found that the new crop of small schools offered important early advantages to their students, they conclude that opening so many caused “collateral damage” to the existing large high schools as they absorbed the students displaced by closures of their large schools. The researchers offered a note of caution for administrators mulling the role small schools might...
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