This video features Kymberly Walcott, now a senior in Hunter College in New York City. She describes the terrible injustice of closing her high school, Jamaica High School.

The idea that closing schools is a “remedy” was one of the cruelest aspects of the failed No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top.

Countless schools were closed because they had low scores. Typically, these schools were located in black and brown communities, and the students enrolled in them were, of course, nonwhite. Children were dispersed, communities were disrupted, teachers and principals and support staff lost their jobs and had to fend for themselves.

Jamaica High School was once one of the greatest high schools in the nation and in New York City. As its population changed from white to predominantly nonwhite, its reputation changed. It enrolled needier students. But instead of providing the school with the supports it needed, school officials in the Bloomberg era declared that it was a “failing school.” That immediately sent enrollments into a tail spin, as parents withdrew their children. The label became a self-fulfilling prophecy, dooming the school. The Department of Education closed it and replaced it with small high schools, none of which could match the broad curriculum, the programs for ELLs, or other offerings at the original school.

This article in the New Yorker in 2015 captures a sense of what was lost.

There is no evidence that closing schools produces better outcomes for students. It predictably produces disruption and chaos, which are not good for children and teens.

If there are any researchers out there who have a source for the number of schools closed by NCLB and RTTT, please let me know. I have searched for the number without success.