The Success for All Foundation closely monitors the changes in federal policy that will have an impact on the use of research-proven programs in schools. Currently, two key programs are poised to create dramatic changes in the field in which we work.
The School Improvement Grant Program (SIG) provides $545 million per year to turn around the lowest-performing schools in our country. This fund received a one time boost of $3 billion through the economic stimulus fund. Grant recipients are required to close their school and open as a charter, replace staff, or implement a transformation model. While these choices represent the fact that dramatic changes do need to happen in some schools, they lack the research base necessary to ensure positive outcomes.
As Congress prepares to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), SFAF has expressed support for redesigning the program so schools are encouraged to choose from any reform model that has been demonstrated to be effective through rigorous research. Under this structure that is prescriptive on evidence requirements but loose on tasks, schools will be free to choose the model that works best for their students.
The landmark $650 million Investing in Innovation fund (i3) that came about as a result of the economic stimulus fund will transform the field of effective turnaround choices for schools. This new program appropriately makes modest investments in the newest untested ideas while making dramatic investments to scale up programs that have a strong track record of effectiveness. By developing, validating, and scaling up effective programs, schools will no longer have to choose from a very limited pool of proven programs. Instead, school-improvement options will be ripe with choices that will best fit different schools.
This program was created as a one-time investment. As Congress prepares to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), SFAF has expressed support for the continuation of this program at a more modest level of $200 million. The continued existence of the i3 program will drive the school-improvement community toward a culture of evidence instead of a culture of trends.
© 2012 Success for All Foundation - A Nonprofit Organization