Rand just release the initial evaluation of de Blasio’s Renewal School program.
The program cost $773 million.
The researchers found that the program did not improve student achievement.
The Renewal program has only been around for three years, so it feels a bit early to tell if it worked or not.
But I think “did it work?” is an important but secondary question to ask with a program like this.
The most important question is: “will it last?”
Even if the program had it gotten results, I’m skeptical that the program would have lasted.
The Renewal program had two major things going against it’s sustainability.
First, the program was deeply tied to de Blasio and the previous superintendent, Carmen Farina.
Second, there were no governance or legal protections for the program.
Taken together, this meant that the next mayor / superintendent would likely replace this initiative with their pet initiative.
This already had started to happen a year ago. When Farina stepped, the new superintendent, Richard Carranza, said the idea behind the Renewal program was “fuzzy.”
I viewed this as code for “it’s not my signature project.”
Admittedly, even I’m a bit surprised at how quickly the Renewal program collapsed. I thought it would at least live through the de Blasio administration.
We do live in a democracy (thankfully), so no government funded program, even if it works, is guaranteed to last forever.
But I would not have spent $773 million dollars on program that could be so easily undone.
I am such a deep believer in non-profit governance because it greatly increases the chance that something great can last.
In New Orleans, since the outset of the reforms, we’ve had three mayors and five superintendents.
And the work continues.