Large urban school districts across the country face the daunting challenge of deciding what kind of system will best administer and support schools with widely differing needs, resulting in high achievement for all students. In New York City, the best system structure has been debated for decades. A new AISR study has found that the current system – the non-geographically based Children First Networks (CFN) – has not met the needs of students and communities: student and school demographics are still the best predictor of student and school outcomes. The lesson from New York City’s experiment is relevant both to the new city administration and to similar discussions in other cities: to address persistent achievement gaps, future investment must support thriving schools anchored in thriving communities.
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