What Are the Effects of School Openings and Closings on the Educational Outcomes of Nearby Students?

Sara Pilzer, Duke University

The overarching goal of this project is to detail the effects of major structural changes— specifically school openings and closings— on a variety of student outcomes. Typically absent from the literature is a discussion of the impact of these structural school changes on students who do not move, yet remain in environments that change drastically due to a nearby school opening or closing change. Using rich panel data on North Carolina’s public school students from 1995-2007, it is possible to identify students who face a major disruption to academic life, due to largely changing student bodies when nearby schools open or close and student bodies change substantially. Preliminarily, there is suggestive evidence that observably different (disadvantaged) schools and students are most affected by nearby openings and closings. There do appear to be substantial changes in school-level student demographic compositions and achievement that accompany nearby school openings and closings.

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Presented in Session 44: Education Policy and Child Well-Being