School District Takeovers History and Today – Podcast Episode 200 | Classnotes Podcast 200

Classnotes Podcast (March 6, 2020). For several decades, some states have used the threat of taking over a school district to force some kind of change. But this isn’t a new trend. Since 1989, over 22 state governments and agencies have taken over more than 100 local public school districts across the country.

In this episode, Ana Ramón talks with Terrence Wilson, J.D., and Chloe Latham Sikes, M.A., give a quick history of school takeover policies and describe the problems they create that hinder equitable education. Ana is IDRA’s deputy director of advocacy, Terrence is IDRA’s regional policy and community engagement director, and Chloe is IDRA’s deputy director of policy.

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Show length: 12:49


Another Zero-Tolerance Failure – State Takeovers of School Districts Don’t Work, By Terrence Wilson, J.D., & Chloe Latham Sikes, M.A., March 2020

The Problem with School Takeovers – Studies show they’re ineffective and may unequally impact Black and Hispanic communities, by Alan Greenblatt, June 2018

Takeover: Race, Education, and American Democracy, by Domingo Morel

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Show Notes

  • Chloe gives a historical overview of state education takeovers, and Terrence describes the types of school districts that are typically targeted in these reform efforts.

  • Terrence shares the legal and policy arguments surrounding the attempted takeover of the Houston ISD.

  • Chloe discusses the research findings that state takeovers of school districts are not actually effective in improving academic achievement.

  • Terrence and Chloe talk about alternative approaches to turning around low-performing school districts, including more empowerment for members of the community and local school boards.