A Minor Question About the Educational Aftermath of Hurricane Sandy (and a Natural Experiment)

Some of the quiet casualties of Hurricane Sandy are students, since, in New York City, many schools were used as shelters after people’s homes were destroyed (they were also used as emergency overflow for the chronic homeless). Even after schools were reclaimed, they often lacked heat and students had difficulty learning (or are sent home to stay warm). The disruption lasted for weeks.

Under Mayor Bloomberg, NYC has adopted a test-based teacher evaluation system that has significant flaws. In a value-added testing system, teachers are evaluated based on how much student performance improves according to tests. So will the teachers at the affected schools be given a break, or will the school system expect teachers with students in unheated buildings, whose homes might have been damaged, and who have missed class time to not miss a beat?

Hopefully, the NYC education department will not be idiots.

On a related note, this seems like a good opportunity to examine the effects of disruption on student performance.

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