Good Money after Bad | Teachers College Columbia University

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Good Money after Bad

By Eric Nadelstern

The Mayor's proposal for failing schools is fraught with problems for the following seven reasons:

  • Throwing money at failed school has been tried time and time again with no success.

  • The rules, roles and relationships that have developed in failed schools preclude asking the teachers and administrators responsible for the failure in the first place to reinvent themselves.

  • Rewarding failure invariably penalizes success. Doing so reinforces the wrong kinds of behaviors on the part of principals, teachers and students.

  • If the Mayor can find an additional $150 million, these resources would be better spent supporting and replicating successful schools.

  • The schools least able to manage themselves are no those most able to successfully manage additional social services for students and their families.

  • Focusing schools on the communities they are situated within simply reinforces the segregation by race and class that are reflected in neighborhoods in New York City.

  • Despite successive match group MDRC studies showing significant gains in graduation rates in general, and college enrollment for African American males, the Mayor consistently refuses to consider closing failed schools and replacing them with new, small, more successful ones.

History, data and common sense all point to why the mayor should abandon this approach. However, for the sake of our children, I hope that I'm proven wrong.

Published Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2014