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Education Department Proposes Big Changes to School Improvement Grant Program

But the guidance makes clear that whatever strategies states come up with under the brand new, “choose your own improvement plan” option would need to closely mirror the Obama administration’s turnaround principles in No Child Left Behind waivers. Those strategies include new teacher evaluation systems that take student outcomes into account, extended learning time, and removing school leaders and teachers who don’t have a strong track record in moving the needle on student achievement. (That’s essentially the same basket of strategies we saw under SIG before Congress made changes to the program in a spending bill that passed earlier this year.)

At the same time, the proposal adds a new option not envisioned by Congress: using high quality early childhood programs as a turnaround strategy for failing elementary schools.