Thursday, January 19, 2017

As President Obama Leaves, One Final Push for Education

I'll let you know if this comes to pass in the next 24 hours.

From CNN:
The Obama administration is considering a major last-minute policy shift that could force hundreds of school districts to cut spending at well-financed elementary and secondary schools and move nearly $1 billion dollars to schools with large numbers of low-income students. 

The regulation would apply only to school districts that have both low-income schools that get Title I federal funds and higher-income schools that are not eligible for the money.  

In announcing the proposal in August, King called it "an important step forward to advancing resource equity across the country." King also urged districts and states to comply with the regulation "by providing additional funds for education focused on high-needs schools, not by shifting dollars around or forcing transfers of teachers or other personnel." 
"If this were to be finalized, it would be a huge deal because it's saying how local and state money inside school districts is to be distributed across schools," said Nora Gordon, a school-finance expert at Georgetown University. 

Lamar Alexander, chairman of the Senate education committee and a former secretary of education, has vowed to block the regulation -- a move that would require a majority vote in both houses of Congress and the President's signature. 

Adopting the regulation before Friday at noon would bind the incoming Trump administration unless Congress overturns it.  

The National School Boards Association called the regulation "unnecessary" and "unwarranted federal overreach" that would constrain school districts.


Anonymous said...

The proposal has been withdrawn.

West Seattle

Melissa Westbrook said...

Well, that was fast.

Anonymous said...

Boo Hoo ... who cares ..
Obama and a final push for education.

School Improvement Grants = $3 Billion wasted

The U.S. Department of Education has just released its final evaluation of the School Improvement Grant (SIG) program.

Through this program, states were given funds to implement interventions—transformation, turnaround, restart, or closure—in their lowest-performing schools. The Obama administration was able to award $3 billion in SIG grants

Among the key findings of the evaluation, which was conducted by Mathematica:

Overall, across all grades, we found that implementing any SIG-funded model had no significant impacts on math or reading test scores, high school graduation, or college enrollment.

Andy Smarick has been skeptical of school turnaround efforts in general and the SIG program in particular from the beginning. In “The Turnaround Fallacy,” an article that appeared in Education Next seven years ago, he reviewed the research on turnaround efforts and urged “Stop trying to fix failing schools. Close them and start fresh.”

He warned in 2009 that the SIG program was unlikely to bear fruit.

I publicly predicted—on numerous occasions—that SIG was not going to produce anything remotely close to the results the Department and others were promising. I was alarmed at how much we were spending on SIG and the awful track record of previous turnaround efforts, and I was sure that districts would pick weak interventions and that kids were going to continue languishing in these schools while we went about this misguided adventure.

Smarick reiterated his concerns about the program as results from earlier evaluations were released (sometimes on a snowy Friday afternoon before a holiday weekend).

Education Next


The US Department of Education report is 419 pages.
Title: School Improvement Grants: Implementation and Effectiveness.

released January 2017 (same month Obama admin leaves - coincidence?)


-- Dan Dempsey

Anonymous said...

Interesting that the fight over money is a big deal, while accountability for horrendous decision making is completely ignored.

The SIG grant turnaround models were ridiculous. The first schools to reach multiple years of failure in WA State were Toppenish schools. Nearly 100% poverty, large numbers of migrants, etc. ... Hard to find teachers and yet the turnaround models were about dismissing teachers and administrators.... who could have ever believed these turnaround models would work?

Yet no one is held accountable for this Obama/Duncan fiasco.

In Seattle we had Carla Santorno installing Everyday Math and stating that with greatly increased instructional time and Fidelity of Implementation the Math Achievement Gap would be eliminated in 4 years. This Everyday Math adoption did nothing that Ms. Santorno promised. Yet she soon became the Superintendent of Tacoma Schools. (Accountability??)

Tacoma Schools place almost all students in Algebra in grade 8. This is no way to meet the needs of low performing students. 35% of Tacoma 8th grade students placed at level 1 (well below standard) on SBA Math assessment in 2016. As 7th graders in 2015 the cohort placed 28% in level 1. --- This 8th grade math Algebra emphasis is malpractice, since no one is accountable who cares.

In Seattle at Orca uses this same model, putting all 8th graders in Algebra. 45% of Orca 8th grade students placed at level 1 on SBA 8th grade math assessment in 2016. This cohort of students in 2015 had 35.5% at level 1 and 13.5% with no score.

I sure wish that there was some accountability for bad decisions but apparently that rarely happens at either the Federal Level or Local Level. So it is not just increased funding that is needed but much better decision-making and that would likely require accountability of which we rarely see any.

As former SPI Buster Brouilett said: Superintendents go to jail for bad finances but no one ever went to jail for poor curriculum decisions.

To improve a system requires the intelligent application of relevant data. - W.E. Deming

-- Dan Dempsey

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