School and System Designs to Increase Graduation Rates and Lift Student Performance: Impact of Small Schools and Charters on Academic Achievement of Low Income Students in the United States Presentation to the Asia Pacific Leaders Forum on Secondary Education Michele Cahill, Carnegie Corporation March 2008
Goal: Raise Graduation Rates and Raise Academic Achievement Problem: Low and Stagnant Graduation Rates
Labor market shifts place educational attainment as the key driver of individual success. YET,
Approximately 20 percent of the American youth fail to earn a high school diploma or GED by age 19.
Achievement gaps persist, most dramatically seen in the low and static high school graduation rates of African American and Latino students, especially males.
About 50 percent of African American and Hispanic students graduate by age 19.
Previous reform attempts --professional development for teachers, strengthening curriculum, and dropout prevention—failed in the face of resistance and low capacity manifested in –
Low expectations for students, a pervasive sense that students were too far behind to learn demanding high school curriculum
Weak articulation of mission and few shared norms and values between adults and students
Isolation – schools from external assets, teachers from one another, student anonymity
Emphasis on deficits and fragmented programs rather than on assets and resiliency
Low internal accountability and learned helplessness
Chaotic and disorganization of management
Churn of principals and teachers and disproportionate proportion of lower capacity teachers assigned
The Rationale for Reform NYC: 51% Avg.: 35% 4 Year Graduation Rate (Class of 2002) The four-year graduation rate for the Class of 2002 was 35% at phase out schools, well below the citywide average of 51%.
NYC Reform Strategy: New Designs for Schools and for the System
Set High Expectations, Increase Accountability and Raise Quality of Talent by Opening the System to Energy and Intellectual Capital from Within and Outside
Research finding---small school size creates more favorable conditions for students challenged by poverty and other high needs.
In a study of graduation patterns of all students in New York City high schools from classes of 1999 through 2005, the two factors of school size and concentration of students entering significantly below standards in English and Math (highly correlated with poverty) explained 41 percent of variance in graduation rates among the high schools
Spotlight: The Bushwick HS Campus The closure of Bushwick High School began in 2003. Four new small schools now reside in the building. 63% 23% CLASS OF 2006 Final Year CLASS OF 2002 Year Prior to Phase-out Announcement BUSHWICK HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION RATES 59% CLASS OF 2007 First Graduating Class of the New Bushwick High School Campus NEW HIGH SCHOOLS GRADUATION RATE 9% 9%* Part Time SPED 6% 1%* Full Time SPED 15% 23%* ELL 98% 97% Hispanic and Black 2006-2007 New Schools at Bushwick Campus 2001-2002 Bushwick High School INCOMING 9TH GRADE DEMOGRAPHIC DATA
New Schools Target Underserved Communities 2007-08 Incoming Ninth Grade Source: Division of Assessment and Accountability. Data is Preliminary, Based on October 31, 2007 Unaudited Register. Notes: D75, D79, and Charter Schools are not included. Only includes first time 9 th graders (no holdovers).
North Star Academies is a charter school network in Newark, New Jersey.
Mission: close the achievement gap in one of America’s highest-need districts.
Operates 2 middle schools and 1 high school— 90% of students are low income and 85% are African-American.
School design characteristics: a focus on interim assessments and value-add data analysis. Data-driven culture focuses on high expectations, a sense of community, an emphasis on college readiness, extended school days, and the recruitment and retention of high-quality, committed teachers.
100% of North Star 11th graders scored proficient or above on the 2006 High School Proficiency Assessment (HSPA) in Language Arts and 88% scored proficient or above in Math—significantly higher than the Newark District, all urban districts, and the statewide average.
93% of North Star 8th graders scored proficient or above in Language Arts, 96.7% in Science, and 76.7% in Mathematics.
100% of the 12th grade students graduated by passing the HSPA—compared to 75% of New Jersey students statewide and only 35% in the Newark district.
North Star’s 2006 high school graduates achieved a 100% college enrollment rate, the highest among all NJ high schools.
Dramatic improvement in graduation rates requires radical change in design of schools, accountability/autonomy exchange, rigor of curriculum, human capital recruitment and support, and opening school development to partnerships and new providers while maintaining public accountability for achievement and equity.