The Walton-funded Center for Research on Education Outcomes published a study containing a finding that almost everyone knew:

The strategy of closing schools because of their test scores disproportionately affects children of color.

– A little less than half of displaced closure students landed in better schools.

• Closures of low-performing schools were prevalent but not evenly distributed.

• In both the charter and traditional public school sectors, low-performing schools with a larger share of black and Hispanic students were more likely to be closed than similarly performing schools with a smaller share of disadvantaged minority students.

• Low-performing schools that were eventually closed exhibited clear signs of weakness in the years leading to closure compared to other low-performing schools.

•The quality of the receiving school made a significant difference in post-closure student outcomes. Closure students who attended better schools post-closure tended to make greater academic gains than did their peers from not-closed low-performing schools in the same sector, while those ending up in worse or equivalent schools had weaker academic growth than their peers in comparable low-performing settings.

• The number of charter closures was smaller than that of traditional public school closures, however, the percentage of low-performing schools getting closed was higher in the charter sector than in the traditional public school sector. 

In both cases one would think that an obvious solution would be to provide schools serving children raised in poverty and children of color with more resources… but that’s not the conclusion the legislators in VA or CREDO offer. In VA the three options were: “… funding, local enrollment policies and private school options.”  The advocates for children are seeking funding… but my hunch is that choice will carry the day because it doesn’t require any additional investment by taxpayers. And as for CREDO, instead of abandoning the closure of “failing schools” in favor of providing them with resources, the researchers view closures as the only option:

Closing chronically low-performing schools seems to be an inevitable option. The widespread failure of school improvement strategies makes the option of keeping chronically low-performing TPS schools in the hope of making progress over time unattractive and impractical. Previous research by CREDO has also demonstrated that a charter school that performs poorly at the beginning is very unlikely to improve later on (Peltason & Raymond, 2013; Woodworth & Raymond, 2013). Hence, closing persistently low-performing schools seems to be pushed to the front as an inevitable alternative. Our findings point out several intricacies, and call for caution, in implementing this bold policy measure.

The consequence of this is that children who attend well resourced schools in affluent neighborhoods or communities will predictably attend the same school year-after-year… children who attend underfunded schools will never know from year-to-year where they will be assigned…. and inequity will be exacerbated and continued.