Thursday, April 18, 2013

Dr. Elaine Simon, Urban Studies Univ. of Penn. discusses the impact of school closings on communities

Dr. Mike Robinson discussed the  His guest was Dr. Elaine Simon from the University of Pennsylvania. Recently, Dr. Simon wrote an article where she examined what school closings really mean to neighborhoods. According to Dr. Simon’s research and those of other scholars; most students from schools recommended for closing in Philadelphia for example would not end up in better-performing schools. They are likely to wind up in schools much like the ones they were in before.
Given this assertion, the questions one has to ask are: 

(1) Why are schools closing?

(2) How will students benefit from closing of their neighborhood schools? 

(3) What becomes of the teachers and school administrators of those schools that are forced to close? 

(4) How should parents, teachers and community leaders measure the success of closing schools beyond any monetary gains? 

(5) Finally, should the cost of operating schools be the sole factor in determine which schools are closed?


Elaine Simon is co-director of the Urban Studies Program at the University of Pennsylvania and a senior research consultant at Research for Action. Elaine Simon is an anthropologist who has conducted ethnographic research and evaluation in the fields of education, employment and training, and community development. She is Co-Director of Urban Studies in the School of Arts and Sciences and adjunct Associate Professor of Education in the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania.

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