Reader: Why the $3.5 Billion School Improvement Grants Failed

Diane Ravitch's blog

This morning, I posted an evaluation by Mathematica Policy Research, which concluded that the federal School Improvement Grants had no effect on test scores. A reader named Sara explains here why the SIG program failed, after spending $3.5 billion:

The SIG required certain interventions and did not give any autonomy or decision making power to the people who already worked in the school.

So for example in the school where I work, SIG required that an outside organization provide social emotional support to students- rather than supplementing the counseling and social work staff who are highly qualified and already know the students. Whenever new people come into a situation there is a long learning curve. Also people from an outside organization do not have a long term commitment to the school.

Another example, staff came in for the grant who merely measured and “coached” – what the school really needed…

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