Tuesday, January 19, 2010

School closings wipe out community resources

Huge jump in number of homeless students at schools on N.Y.C. shutdown listThere's two things you need to know about Arne Duncan's Race-To-The-Top school-closing model of reform. First, it doesn't work to improve schools, raise test scores, or close the so-called achievement gap. The recent Chicago Tribune report on Renaissance 10 only adds to the already impressive pile of research confirming the failure of this approach.

Second, school closings can be and usually are devastating to the surrounding school community. The reason? Schools are so much more than schools. For one thing, they are often centers for social services, jobs and community development. When you close schools in high-poverty neighborhoods, you deplete those communities of badly-needed resources.

Case in point: The Daily News reports that at 19 of the 20 N.Y. schools that the Education Department announced last month it plans to shut down, the number of homeless kids jumped by more than 100%.
The school takes on even more of a family role for the child, encouraging them to keep going," said student affairs coordinator Stefanie Siegel. "Academic success can be hard to keep on the front of the table because you're just trying to keep the students stable."


  1. Hi--Your link to the Daily News is broken.

    Did the Daily News report that homelessness jumped that much since the announcement last month? Did they provide numbers?

  2. Thanks for letting me know about the broken link, Claus. I think it's fixed now. Yes, the DN does provide numbers. Check it out.


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