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School Turnarounds: What has Worked and What Has Failed

Wednesday, Apr 12, 2017 | 12:00pm

Lunch will be served. Registration is required.

What can we learn from efforts to improve struggling schools? A recently published Mathematica study found that the seven billion dollar school “turn around” program initiated by the US Department of Education under Secretary Duncan had been unsuccessful in significantly upgrading student achievement. Some advocates have argued that this failure means that all efforts at school improvement efforts are bound to disappoint, without taking into account that their preferred solutions – school closures and replacement by charters – were among the ineffective models in the USDOE program. Others suggest that it was the top-down and highly prescriptive nature of the USDOE’s program, severely limiting what schools could do and excluding educators from decision-making, that doomed it. And still others point to the fact that the “turn around” strategies mandated by the USDOE failed to address the impact of poverty on education. What should educators and policy makers conclude?

Our panel of researchers and practitioners will address this question by examining both the current state of research and on-the-ground efforts at school improvement that have worked.


Nina Esposito-Visgitas, President, Pittsbugh Federation of Teachers

Melissa Irby, Senior Turnaround Consultant, American Institutes for Research

Jenny Nagaoka, Deputy Director, University of Chicago Consortium on School Research

John Papay, Assistant Professor of Education and Economics, Brown University

The event will not be livestreamed, but the video will be available on this page on April 13, 2017.


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