Panel: Policy Efforts to Turnaround Persistently Low-Achieving Schools

Friday, November 7, 2014: 1:30 PM-3:00 PM
Dona Ana (Convention Center)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Panel Organizers:  Beth E. Schueler, Harvard University
Panel Chairs:  Christina LiCalsi-Labelle, American Institutes for Research
Discussants:  Geoffrey D. Borman, University of Wisconsin, Madison and Luke C. Miller, University of Virginia

The Effects of School District-Wide Turnaround: The Case of Lawrence, Massachusetts
Beth E. Schueler1, Joshua Goodman1 and David Deming1,2, (1)Harvard University, (2)The National Bureau of Economic Research

School Turnarounds: Evidence from the 2009 Stimulus
Thomas Dee, Stanford University

The Effects of School Turnaround in North Carolina: A Regression Discontinuity Approach
Jennifer Ann Heissel, Northwestern University and Helen Ladd, Duke University

The U.S. Department of Education has made it a high priority to address the problem of chronically low-performing public schools across the country. The federal government, state departments of education and school districts have employed multiple policy approaches to improving outcomes for students attending these schools, but limited evidence has surfaced about the results of these initiatives. This panel will examine the effects of school improvement or “turnaround” efforts using data from California and North Carolina to look at the impact of federal funding aimed at turning around the nation’s lowest performing schools, and data from Massachusetts to examine a district-wide turnaround effort in the historically low-performing Lawrence Public Schools. The panelists will examine the consequences of these policies on outcomes ranging from student test scores and attendance to teacher reports of their use of time, working conditions, and professional development quality. By examining school turnaround efforts across the country, we hope to a) draw lessons regarding promising approaches to school improvement, and b) identify the most important unresolved questions for future research on improving outcomes for students in under-performing schools.
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