On this page we present detailed results for our Harmony Project model in Los Angeles.
You can find information about the following topics:

Eligibility and Enrollment

Academic Achievement

High School Graduation

School Attendance, Truancy, and Suspension


Substance Abuse

Juvenile Crime

Adult Crime

Sexual Abuse

Financial Savings

There has not yet been sufficient analysis of the Harmony Project model to calculate an estimate of the long-term effect of the program. In order to estimate the outcomes that one would expect to see from the program, we searched for literature that evaluated each of the major components of the Harmony Project: high-quality musical education, intellectual after-school programming, and middle and high school mentoring through a common interest in music.

Music education has not been adequately studied to estimate the impact that it would have on the outcomes of participants, so this analysis focused on the other two primary components of Harmony Project.

           - After-school programs were evaluated for elementary school children ranging from kindergarten through 5th grade.

           - Targeted mentorship programs were evaluated for middle and high school students ranging from 6th to 12th grade.

Due to this clear division between the age ranges of the evaluations of similar programs, we were able to apply both effect sizes and outcomes for the two components of Harmony Project without fear of double counting. For participants in the program across the elementary and middle/high school years, we apply the effects of the two programs additively.

For our standard model, we assume that 1,000 children participate in only the elementary-aged after-school program component of Harmony Project and an additional 1,000 students participate in only the middle and high school targeted mentorship component. This accounts for both the students who leave the program early and those who enroll later in their academic career. Additionally, we assume a cohort of 1,000 students participate in both components of the program, from kindergarten through 12th grade.

The Harmony Project program is available for any student on free or reduced lunch. Approximately 2/3 of students in Los Angeles County are eligible under those guidelines. In order to target a more at-risk population, we collected baseline information from the lowest quartile of schools for each outcome.

Test scores are expected to increase among the population eligible for the intervention. We estimate the percentage of 5th grade students with test scores meeting standards or higher to be 17.4% of students in English/Language Arts and 7.1% of students in math without the intervention.

These test scores would increase by 19.8 percentage points and 12.8 percentage points, respectively, if the program took place.

We estimate the percentage of 11th grade students with test scores meeting standards or higher to be 19.6% of students in English/Language Arts and 3.3% of students in math without the intervention.

These scores would increase by 22.6 percentage points and 7.8 percentage points, respectively, if the program took place.

The reasoning for the differences between the mentorship only students and the combined students is that the latter group benefits from the after-school program as well, meaning their baseline scores are higher than their counterparts.

We estimate an additional 101 students who complete the program in middle or high school will graduate high school due to this program. 

High School graduation would increase from 37.8 percent to 42.8 percent among this population, an increase of 5.1 percentage points.

The intervention will increase school attendance across all ages by an average of 0.76 days per child annually. This translates to an average of 2,285 school days per year. Most of this increase in attendance occurs during adolescence, where truancy is affected.

The benefits extend from the cohort of children to the school districts themselves, since they receive higher attendance revenue as a result of the program.

The program reduces truancy by 275 adolescents annually.

The program reduces the number of suspensions by 209 over 13 years.

We also estimate for the 2,000 children that go through the mentorship component of the program, the number of children bullied twice or more during the school year will be reduced by 65 students in middle school and 63 students in high school.

The program is effective at reducing substance use among the elementary school population. We estimate that by 5th grade for the 2,000 children that receive the elementary after school portion of the program, 102 will not try alcohol, with smaller effects for cigarettes, chewing tobacco, inhalants, and marijuana use as well.

We also estimate 131 fewer substance users for the 2,000 adolescents that receive the high school mentorship component.

This intervention would prevent an average of 396 fewer juvenile arrests over 15 years.

For the thousand students who receive the mentorship component only, there would be 196 fewer arrests over nine years and for the thousand that receive both components there would be 200 fewer arrests over nine years.

Furthermore, this intervention would prevent an average of 24 fewer juvenile incarcerations over 14 years, divided about equally between cohort based on components of the program received.

It's important to note our modeling may undercount arrests since we only estimate arrests through the linkage to reduced suspension and truancy. Ideally we would have liked to model arrests directly, however we were not able to find enough supporting literature.

This intervention would prevent an average of 48 fewer adulthood (age 18-30) arrests over 19 years.

For each of the cohorts receiving one component of the program, there would be 24 fewer arrests over 19 years.

Furthermore, this intervention would prevent an average of 5 fewer jailings and 1 fewer incarceration over 19 years once the cohort reaches adulthood.

Sexual abuse is a health concern for the incarcerated population. Due to the reduction in incarcerations, we estimate 4 fewer instances of sexual abuse in the juvenile incarceration system.

The program begins to bring in steady positive returns in year 14. In year 50, the savings to state and local governments are approximately $30,000.

After 50 years, discounted returns approach -$27.9million. For an initial cost of $34.4 million, this comes out to

$0.19 returns for every dollar initially invested.

Maintaining the program in perpetuity leads slightly greater per dollar savings. By year 50, returns are -$1.5 billion. For a cost of $1.8 billion, this comes out to

$0.18 returns for every dollar initially invested.

The largest percentage of savings from the program, 45 percent in total, comes from reduced juvenile crime, which is broken down into initial arrests (30 percent) and recidivism (15 percent). Roughly 35 percent of savings come from increased earnings through incomes and sales taxes. Substance Use (9 percent), juvenile incarceration (5 percent), and adulthood arrests (3 percent) make up the next largest categories, with the remaining sources displayed as the "Other" category here (Truancy, Adulthood Jailing, Adulthood Incarceration, and School Attendance).