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The Effect of School Closings on Student Achievement

September 23, 2012
By Quentin Brummet

School Closings Do No Persistent Harm To The Achievement Of Displaced Students In Michigan

From the Abstract:

"While many school districts across the country are shutting schools and shifting around students and teachers, school closing policies remain a very controversial issue. In order to lend evidence to this debate, the current study investigates the effects of school closing policies on student achievement by examining the closure of over 200 school closings in Michigan. Relative to the previous literature, this large sample size allows the study to more thoroughly investigate heterogeneity in treatment effects based on the performance level of the closed school. The results indicate that, on average, school closings do no persistent harm to the achievement of displaced students. Moreover, displacing students to higher-performing schools can result in achievement gains for those students. The displacement of students and teachers creates modest spillover effects on the receiving schools, however. Hence, while the closing of low-performing schools may generate some achievement gains for displaced students, part of these gains will likely be offset by spillover effects onto receiving schools."