Vicki Phillips, the foundation’s director of education focusing on college readiness, said the MDRC study “is great news” for New York City students and for school-reform efforts.
But the study will not change the priorities of the Gates Foundation, which shifted its strategy in 2008 from starting new schools to targeting teacher effectiveness and national standards. Foundation spokesman Chris Williams said once they are up and running, the schools are expected to be “fully sustainable without philanthropic investments.”
Closing schools has provoked opposition, with some students and teachers urging that their schools be given a chance to improve instead.
The United Federation of Teachers spearheaded a lawsuit this year to block New York City’s latest wave of closings, which included 19 elementary, middle, and high schools. A judge agreed that the city had not followed state law in closing the schools, and their phasing out will be delayed at least a year.
A union spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the study.