How Does Size Matter? The Impact Of The Rise Of Small Schools On Latinos And Emergent Bilinguals In New York City

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Flores, Nelson; Chu, Haiwen
International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism
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Acquisition Number
Published Date
01-14-2015 2:55 PM
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Since the dawn of mayoral control in 2002, New York City high schools have undergone a major overhaul. Part of this reform effort has been the replacement of underperforming large high schools with new small high schools. This study more closely examines the effects of a transition to small high schools on students who are Latino and students who are emergent bilinguals (EBs). The data includes the demographic data from the New York State Department of Education Comprehensive Education Plan and the New York City Department of Education Progress Report for each school. This study finds that although a majority of Latinos and EBs continue to attend large schools of more than 1200 students, they are unevenly distributed across different school sizes. In addition, large high schools are far more likely to offer Transitional Bilingual Education (TBE) programs. Findings also indicate that small schools of no more than 500 students have higher academic outcomes based on credit accumulation and higher four and six-year graduation rates for EBs than medium and large schools. These differences are most significant at schools with high EB and Latino student populations. The article concludes with a call for qualitative studies identifying successful practices for EBs across school sizes framed around more fluid notions of language support that move beyond the dichotomy of bilingual education vs. English as a second language (ESL).
State and Local Policy
Secondary Education
ESL Programs
Bilingual Students
Bilingual Education
Administration and Leadership