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School Closures: Americans Oppose Them, But Research Suggests They’re Not a Bad Idea

For nearly a half-century, the professional educators’ organization Phi Delta Kappa has released a poll this time of year to capture the public’s attitudes towards public education.

This year, by far the most lopsided finding in the survey was about a controversial reform policy: school closures. By 84 percent to 14 percent, Americans said that even when a public school has been failing for several years, the best response is to keep the school open and try to improve it rather than shut it down.

Yet despite that sentiment, some early research suggests that school closures may work as advertised, in that they steer students toward higher-performing schools.