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Accountability--Sanctions/InterventionsSelected Research & Readings
What States Are Doing
Selected Research & Readings
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Accountability--School Improvement
Governance--Local/Mayoral Takeovers
No Child Left Behind--Consequences for Schools

Who Should Be in Charge When School Districts Go into the Red? - State policies for assisting school districts in financial trouble are uneven and complex. This brief presents a menu of state responses when districts are insolvent or nearly so, arranged into a tiered sequence of interventions. These include low-impact collaborative supports, followed by financial management by experts who oversee and manage a district's financial matters. Finally, there is state takeover in which outside experts manage the entire district, not just its finances. (Dara Zeehandelaar, Victoria H. Sears and Alyssa Schwenk, Thomas B. Fordham Institute, August 2015)...

Chartering Turnaround: Leveraging Public Charter School Autonomy to Address Failure - Autonomies related to staffing, curriculum, and general operations provided by state charter laws can be used to catalyze school turnaround efforts. To date, however, states and districts have not fully leveraged strategies that involve granting traditional public schools charter school freedoms as part of the turnaround process. This brief looks at successful models through three charter management organizations that have restarted traditional schools in Los Angeles, Nashville, Philadelphia and Camden. (Julie Corbett, National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, August 2015)...

School Closures and Student Achievement: An Analysis of Ohio's Urban District and Charter Schools - An examination of school closures in Ohio's Big Eight urban areas reveals that students displaced by closure were disproportionately black, economically disadvantaged and low achieving. On average, displaced students ended up in more effective schools populated by higher achieving students. Overall, closing schools and charters in Ohio's urban districts had a positive impact on displaced students' academic achievement. (Deven Carlson and Stephane Lavertu, Thomas B. Fordham Institute, April 2015)...

The State Role in School Turnaround - With chapters written by leading researchers and practitioners (including ECS commissioner Denise Juneau), this publication examines the role of state education agencies in school turnaround efforts. Chapters include: a brief literature review; examples from state education agencies (SEAs); and action principles for the SEA. You can download the complete edited volume or individual sections. Before you hit the print button, know that this document is 274 pages. (Editors Lauren Morando Rhim and Sam Redding, The Center on School Turnaround, November 2014) For individual sections, go to

The Role of Charter Restarts in School Reform - When charters don’t meet expectations, the word “closure” comes to mind. But there’s a relatively recent alternative, the authors of this study point out–charter restarts. With restarts, a new high quality organization is brought in to run the school and a newly formed board is installed, but the children stay where they are, avoiding the possibility that there will be few or no high-quality school options available. Disruption of students’ lives is minimized, as well as disruption to surrounding schools. Five urban charter restarts are profiled. (Daniela Doyle and Tim Field, Public Impact, August 2013)...

What's Trust Got to Do With It: A Communications and Engagement Guide for School Leaders Tackling the Problem of Persistently Failing Schools - Public Agenda presents a blueprint for education leaders on how to engage communities in transforming persistently failing schools so that they create the conditions under which teachers and students can succeed. The report includes best outreach practices culled from education, communications and engagement experts that hold varying perspectives on how to approach school reform. (Public Agenda, December 2011)...

Are Bad Schools Immortal? The Scarcity of Turnarounds and Shutdowns in Both Charter and District Sectors - This study finds that low-performing public schools are re stubbornly resistant to significant change. The author identified over 2,000 low-performing charter and district schools across 10 states, from 2003-04 through 2008-09 to determine how many were turned around, shut down, or remained low-performing. Results were generally dismal. Seventy-two percent of the original low-performing charters remained in operation—and remained low-performing—five years later. So did 80% of district schools. (David Stuit, Thomas B. Fordham Institute, December 2010)...

When Schools Close: Effects on Displaced Students in Chicago Public Schools - Since 2001, the Chicago Public Schools have closed 44 schools for reasons of poor academic performance or underutilization. Very little is known about how displaced students fare after their schools are closed. This report examines the impact that closing schools had on the students who attended these schools. (Consortium on Chicago School Research, October 2009)...

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