NYSSBA Report: Receivership and state takeovers not a panacea for school success

Massachusetts and Tennessee takeovers demonstrate that school turnaround requires sustained effort and community buy-in

FOR RELEASE: June 2, 2016

CONTACT: David Albert
(518) 783-3716 or (518) 320-2221 cell

Schools subject to receivership or state takeovers have seen mixed and inconclusive results in improving academic achievement, according to an analysis of schools in other states by the New York State School Boards Association (NYSSBA).

A new research report from NYSSBA examines state takeover efforts in Massachusetts and Tennessee. The report points out that while students in the Lawrence Public Schools in Massachusetts made some improvements on state math and English language arts (ELA) exams after three years in receivership, those improvements were not sufficient to remove the schools from receivership.

Proficiency on state exams in the Lawrence Public Schools increased from 28 percent to 41 percent in math and from 41 percent to 44 percent in ELA from 2011 to 2014. The district’s 2015 revised turnaround plan, which is in effect for three years, sets a goal of more than 50 percent proficiency rates in math and ELA.

In Tennessee, over the course of three years, math proficiency among students in takeover schools rose from 16 to 27 percent, but reading proficiency actually decreased from 18 to 14 percent.

“If we use these states as a guide, we see that schools placed in receivership in New York will need adequate time in order to achieve significant and sustained gains in student achievement,” said NYSSBA Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer. “The experiences in these two other states also reveal that, in addition to sufficient time, at least three other essential ingredients – community buy-in, financial support and a long-term, sustainable plan – must be present in order to achieve better academic outcomes in lower performing schools.”

The report highlights specific school improvement actions taken by state authorities in Massachusetts and Tennessee, including pushing more decision-making down to the school level, developing the leadership skills of teachers and administrators, and transferring funding and resources to the school level.

The study found that the support of the local community, particularly elected officials, is often a key component of success. In addition, leaders who foster strong relationships with the schools and community members can set the stage for a greater acceptance of receivership.

To read the report, go to:




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