NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Beth E. Schueler

Harvard Kennedy School of Government
Cambridge, MA 02138

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NBER Working Papers and Publications

October 2017School District Reform in Newark: Within- and Between-School Changes in Achievement Growth
with Mark J. Chin, Thomas J. Kane, Whitney Kozakowski, Douglas O. Staiger: w23922
In 2011-12, Newark launched a set of educational reforms supported by a gift from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan. Using data from 2009 through 2016, we evaluate the change in Newark students’ achievement growth relative to similar students and schools elsewhere in New Jersey. We measure achievement growth using a “value-added” model, controlling for prior achievement, demographics and peer characteristics. By the fifth year of reform, Newark saw statistically significant gains in English and no significant change in math achievement growth. Perhaps due to the disruptive nature of the reforms, growth declined initially before rebounding in recent years. Aided by the closure of low value-added schools, much of the improvement was due to shifting enrollment from lower- to hi...
January 2016Can States Take Over and Turn Around School Districts? Evidence from Lawrence, Massachusetts
with Joshua Goodman, David J. Deming: w21895
The Federal government has spent billions of dollars to support turnarounds of low-achieving schools, yet most evidence on the impact of such turnarounds comes from high-profile, exceptional settings and not from examples driven by state policy decisions at scale. In this paper, we study the impact of state takeover and district-level turnaround in Lawrence, Massachusetts. Takeover of the Lawrence Public School (LPS) district was driven by the state’s accountability system, which increases state control in response to chronic underperformance. We find that the first two years of the LPS turnaround produced large achievement gains in math and modest gains in reading. Our preferred estimates compare LPS to other low income school districts in a differences-in-differences framework, although ...
 
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