Cambridge, MAThe Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston’s latest policy brief, Turning the Tide: Evidence on State Takeover and District Turnaround from Lawrence, Massachusetts, shows that the turnaround’s first two years produced dramatic achievement gains in math and modest positive gains in English Language Arts (ELA) test scores, particularly for the district’s large population of First Language Not English (FLNE) students.  Particular improvement was shown in students who participated in Acceleration Academies, week-long intensive classes held during school breaks in February and April.

"Acceleration Academies produced strong gains in Lawrence" said study co-author Harvard Kennedy School Associate Professor Joshua Goodman, "and provide a roadmap for future district-level intervention strategies."

The brief was released this morning at an event held at the Harvard Kennedy School.  Co-author Joshua Goodman presented the study’s findings which was followed by a panel discussion, moderated by Chris Gabrieli, Chairman and CEO, Empower Schools.  Other participants included Sara D'Alessandro, Director of Educator Initiatives, Lawrence Public Schools; Russell Johnston, Senior Associate Commissioner, Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education; and Seth Racine, Deputy Superintendent, Lawrence Public Schools.

The policy brief was authored by Beth E. Schueler, Joshua S. Goodman and David J. Deming.

About the Authors

Beth Schueler is a doctoral student at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education and an Inequality and Social Policy doctoral fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School. Joshua Goodman, Associate Professor of Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School, teaches empirical methods and the economics of education. David Deming is an associate professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and a faculty research fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research.

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