We have good reason to look askance at anything that comes out of the NEA-funded and -run Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice, but the organization sponsored a report by the National Education Policy Center in which we find some common ground. Yes, it can happen!
Craig Howley, Jerry Johnson and Jennifer Petrie of Ohio University authored the 28-page policy brief (11 of which are endnotes) Consolidation of Schools and Districts: What the Research Says and What It Means. They conclude that the evidence doesn’t support the belief that district consolidation saves money or improves the quality of education. Indeed, they suggest school districts investigate deconsolidation.
Since no teachers’ union to my knowledge has ever supported the breakup of a large school district – and in fact often go to great lengths to oppose it – this is quite a departure for the Great Lakes Center.
Here at EIA we’ve scoffed at the claims of future savings due to district consolidation for many years (keyword search “consolidation” on this blog to see how many times). We’re gratified to see that opponents on so many other issues can agree that bigger isn’t always better – and it certainly isn’t always cheaper.