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The Harmful Effects of School Closures

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The Harm of School Closures Can Last a Lifetime, New Research Shows

Students who attend a school that closes during their K-12 career have lower test scores along with worse attendance and behavior in the short term. In the long term, they’re less likely than their peers to complete college and have a job, and their earnings tend to be lower.

Each year, hundreds of schools across the country close because of low enrollment, budget shortfalls, and poor performance. Decades of research have shown that those closures have a short-term, negative impact on students’ academic achievement, with researchers documenting drops in test scores, attendance, and high school graduation rates that usually recover after three years.

But a new working paper shows that the impact of school closures often extends well past graduation, said Jeonghyeok Kim, a Ph.D. candidate in economics at the University of Houston and the researcher behind the study.

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