Bruno: Hidden Ripple Effects From School Closures
The decision by the Missouri Board of Education to shut down the charter schools in the state run by Imagine Schools, Inc. is obviously going to be rough for the students currently enrolled at the six affected sites. If anything, though, the article understates the breadth of the problem by focusing on the fact that "[m]ore than 3,500 students will be displaced."
That's because while school switches are typically most difficult for the students doing the switching, it can also be a challenge for the receiving school. This is especially true if the school invests heavily in establishing standard academic expectations, behavioral norms, or a sense of community. Such investments can be immensely helpful in promoting student success and maximizing instructional time, but they are also undermined by the arrival of new students to whom the standards and expectations may be entirely new. After all, much of the point of establishing school-wide culture - or even a classroom culture - is to avoid having to continuously dedicate time to creating it from scratch.
I've sometimes wondered if closing schools shouldn't be phased out in much the same way that new schools are often phased in, so that at least some students are able to finish their careers at a school before making the transition to a new site. I don't know enough to know how feasible that would be - I can see that money and staff morale could both be a problem - but if the accountability movement sustains its momentum or if district budgets are further strained, school closures are going to continue to disrupt many, many students' lives. - PB (@MrPABruno) (image source)