Coming to a Newspaper Near You … Are School Turnarounds Working?
Three national organizations covering education issues — Education Week, the Education Writers Association, and the Hechinger Report at Teachers College, Columbia University — are collaborating with news organizations around the country to examine the federally funded School Improvement Grant (SIG) program, which has received more than $4.6 billion since 2009.
The project looks at how states, districts and individual schools are using this huge influx of money, and whether the money is achieving the intended goal: helping improve student outcomes in the nation’s most troubled schools. Education reporters provided a team of national writers with insights into school reform in nearly 20 cities. The findings are significant, raising critical questions about the progress of the SIG program, and how communities are responding to the massive push to remake failing campuses.
Beginning Sunday, the project’s centerpiece stories — along with companion pieces written by local and regional reporters — will be published both in print editions and online. (If your local publication isn’t one of the project participants, you will be able to find the national stories online at Education Week.
Interestingly, the publication date comes on the heels of a new report from the Government Accountability Office examining the SIG program. The federal audit urges closer oversight of consultants hired by states and districts using SIG funds, and that more information be provided to on school progress to help states decide whether to renew an individual campus’ grant.
You can read more about the audit from Ed Week’s Alyson Klein, who (along with Hechinger’s Sarah Garland, and Andy Brownstein of Thompson Publications Group) is one of the collaborative project’s national writers.