Why Jeffco hasn’t considered academic performance in picking schools to close
Excerpt from the Chalkbeat Colorado article by Yesenia Robles:
When Jeffco Public Schools staff considered a list of criteria used to identify which schools should close after this school year, performance was not taken into account.
Experts say closing schools is always emotional, but said a good process is important and performance should be considered.
“Any time you have kids being displaced from school, research shows, it is disruptive,” said Sean Gill, a research analyst at the Center on Reinventing Public Education. He is studying how districts with declining enrollment can make good cost-cutting decisions. “You want to make sure the school options they’re going to are better quality or at least as good quality as the school they left. You would want to try to mitigate some of the ill effects of school closure.”
But measuring that performance is tricky for districts that aren’t always experienced at measuring school performance, Gill said.
“The challenge on school performance, and I would guess why they were maybe reluctant, is if the measures are all test-based,” Gill said. “I think people are sometimes concerned that’s not a complete picture. There are some things almost intangible about schools.”
Gill added that some private school operators are exploring making small school models financially sustainable, but it’s not yet possible in public school districts unless districts consider other changes such as sharing buildings with other groups that could help with maintenance costs.