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Document Number: 3621

Resisting the Urge To Merge: Does School Size Matter? - Some previous research finds that smaller schools perform at higher levels than larger schools, and smaller schools reduce the negative effects of poverty on school performance. This analysis of the effects of size on four measures of school performance begins with one school district in Kentucky (Fayette) that is considering the merger of several small elementary schools, then expands to elementary schools in the two largest districts in the state (Jefferson and Fayette), and then to all schools in these two districts using a more complex model of school performance. This analysis suggests that disputes over school mergers or consolidations may be costly diversions from the more important issues of disadvantage and equal opportunity in education. Policymakers in urban/suburban districts with many schools and diverse neighborhoods should consider drawing attendance boundaries to distribute poor children more equitably across schools, regardless of school size. (Phillip W. Roeder, University of Kentucky, KERA Research Web site, May 2002)...


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