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School Improvement Grants: More Money Doesn’t Work Wonders

Reports of School Improvement Grants not producing terrific outcomes, especially given the record $3 million pumped into the program thanks to the 2009 stimulus, are probably gaining more press than the Department of Education intended as they released results on a Friday before the week of Thanksgiving.

Overall, the results are a mixed bag, with some improvements and some declines in achievement. But, when considering how much money was spent to achieve these results, one has to ask if this is the best way to uplift schools. Andy Smarick of Bellwether Education Partners noted on Thomas B. Fordham Institute’s Flypaper Blog that these results are “disappointing but completely predictable.”

The report released from the U.S. Department of Education does not even break down which school used which model, making it impossible to determine which of the four turnaround models is most effective. What these results truly seem to indicate is merely another scenario of throwing money at a underperforming schools in hopes that this will lift achievement.

For more on SIG results, see:
Ed. Dept. Analysis Paints Mixed Picture of SIG Program (Education Week, 11/19/12)
School improvement grants produce mixed results (Washington Post, 11/19/12)