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School Turnarounds: Evidence from the 2009 Stimulus

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  • Thomas Dee

Abstract

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) targeted substantial School Improvement Grants (SIGs) to the nation's "persistently lowest achieving" public schools (i.e., up to $2 million per school annually over 3 years) but required schools accepting these awards to implement a federally prescribed school-reform model. Schools that met the "lowest-achieving" and "lack of progress" thresholds within their state had prioritized eligibility for these SIG-funded interventions. Using data from California, this study leverages these two discontinuous eligibility rules to identify the effects of SIG-funded whole-school reforms. The results based on these "fuzzy" regression-discontinuity designs indicate that there were significant improvements in the test-based performance of schools on the "lowest-achieving" margin but not among schools on the "lack of progress" margin. Complementary panel-based estimates suggest that these improvements were largely concentrated among schools adopting the federal "turnaround" model, which compels more dramatic staff turnover.

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas Dee, 2012. "School Turnarounds: Evidence from the 2009 Stimulus," NBER Working Papers 17990, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17990
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Robert Bifulco & William Duncombe & John Yinger, 2005. "Does whole-school reform boost student performance? The case of New York City," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 24(1), pages 47-72.
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    6. Wilbert van der Klaauw, 2008. "Regression-Discontinuity Analysis: A Survey of Recent Developments in Economics," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 22(2), pages 219-245, June.
    7. Cook, Thomas D., 2008. ""Waiting for Life to Arrive": A history of the regression-discontinuity design in Psychology, Statistics and Economics," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 636-654, February.
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    9. Papay, John P. & Willett, John B. & Murnane, Richard J., 2011. "Extending the regression-discontinuity approach to multiple assignment variables," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 161(2), pages 203-207, April.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Steven W. Hemelt & Brian Jacob, 2017. "Differentiated Accountability and Education Production: Evidence from NCLB Waivers," NBER Working Papers 23461, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Atila Abdulkadiro─člu & Joshua D. Angrist & Peter D. Hull & Parag A. Pathak, 2016. "Charters without Lotteries: Testing Takeovers in New Orleans and Boston," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(7), pages 1878-1920, July.
    3. Woo, Seokjin & Lee, Soohyung & Kim, Kyunghee, 2015. "Carrot and stick?: Impact of a low-stakes school accountability program on student achievement," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 137(C), pages 195-199.
    4. Katharine O. Strunk & Julie A. Marsh & Ayesha K. Hashim & Susan Bush-Mecenas & Tracey Weinstein, 2016. "The Impact of Turnaround Reform on Student Outcomes: Evidence and Insights from the Los Angeles Unified School District," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 11(3), pages 251-282, Summer.
    5. Thomas Dee & Elise Dizon-Ross, 2017. "School Performance, Accountability and Waiver Reforms: Evidence from Louisiana," NBER Working Papers 23463, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Mark J. Chin & Thomas J. Kane & Whitney Kozakowski & Beth E. Schueler & Douglas O. Staiger, 2017. "School District Reform in Newark: Within- and Between-School Changes in Achievement Growth," NBER Working Papers 23922, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Sam Sims, 2016. "High-Stakes Accountability and Teacher Turnover: how do different school inspection judgements affect teachers' decisions to leave their school?," DoQSS Working Papers 16-14, Department of Quantitative Social Science - UCL Institute of Education, University College London.
    8. Lee, Kyung-Gon & Polachek, Solomon, 2014. "Do School Budgets Matter? The Effect of Budget Referenda on Student Performance," IZA Discussion Papers 8056, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    9. Julie Berry Cullen & Steven D. Levitt & Erin Robertson & Sally Sadoff, 2013. "What Can Be Done to Improve Struggling High Schools?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 27(2), pages 133-152, Spring.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H52 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Education
    • I2 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education

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