“This new, rigorous study by MDRC of New York City’s ambitious experiment with small public high schools underscores the great potential to replace failing schools for disadvantaged students with schools that instead narrow achievement and attainment gaps. MDRC’s study is important and encouraging on several fronts. It shows that school reform can achieve success at scale, district-wide, and not just in isolated islands of success. It shows that, with community partnerships and dedicated follow-through, high school dropout factories can be closed and replaced with smaller schools that substantially boost graduation rates. And it shows that much of the conventional wisdom about the impossibility of turning around chronically low-performing high schools is either mistaken or badly exaggerated.
“MDRC’s rigorous, scientific findings – that New York’s non-selective, small high schools are far outperforming the high schools they replace – are one more sign that the Administration’s SIG program is on the right track. For too long, educators have tinkered around the edges in low-performing schools, consigning generations of students of color to receiving an inferior education. It’s time to transform chronically low-performing schools. It’s time to put an end to the tireless tinkering.”