Everybody Knows! NYC Small High Schools Edition

“Everybody knows” the small school experiment in NYC was a failure.   You hear it all the time, so it must be true!  Except an actual evaluation from MDRC shows a more complicated (and less convenient for critics) story.

Bonus Flashback: Small schools eval from Chicago.

One Reply to “Everybody Knows! NYC Small High Schools Edition”

  1. I don’t know who knows the small schools experiment in NYC was a failure, but I do recall the Gates Foundation acknowledging that their promotion of small schools failed. There are lots of reasons to think some students will thrive better at small high schools if they are implemented well. It seems like NYC had a fairly rigorous vetting process for starting new small schools, which wasn’t always the case with Gates’ effort, which often simply ripped big high schools apart.

    In any event, as I read the report, the results for small high schools in NYC are good, but not earth-shattering. Table 3.7 is the most illuminating. Although they boosted the overall graduation rate, small schools had no effect on students graduating with advanced Regents diplomas. And their effects on increasing college readiness (as measured by scores of 75 or more on the math and English Regents) were mixed. So it’s good that they’re getting more kids through high school, but one would ideally like to see them doing more for high-performing kids.

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