The GiveWell Blog

Harlem Children’s Zone closes achievement gap?

Fascinating claim reported by David Brooks. The study (by Roland Fryer and Will Dobbie) doesn’t seem to be available anywhere as of this writing.

Fryer and his colleague Will Dobbie have just finished a rigorous assessment of the charter schools operated by the Harlem Children’s Zone. They compared students in these schools to students in New York City as a whole and to comparable students who entered the lottery to get into the Harlem Children’s Zone schools, but weren’t selected …. the most common education reform ideas — reducing class size, raising teacher pay, enrolling kids in Head Start — produce gains of about 0.1 or 0.2 or 0.3 standard deviations … Promise Academy produced gains of 1.3 and 1.4 standard deviations. That’s off the charts. In math, Promise Academy eliminated the achievement gap between its black students and the city average for white students.

It’s a strong claim about one of the best-reputed and -publicized charities working on the cause of equality of opportunity. We’ve been checking the Harlem Children’s Zone website (and contacting their representatives) for years, without seeing any documentation of impact – but perhaps it’s now on the way. If anyone gets a copy of this paper or knows how we can, please let us know.

Update: thanks to everyone who sent me a link to the paper. I have now read it, and my initial impression is that this is an extremely important work that should seriously affect the way a donor views this cause. I will be making at least one more post on the topic today, and possibly more than one.


Comments are closed.