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How Will ESSA Be Different When it Comes to School Turnarounds Than SIG?


The U.S. Department of Education doled out $427 million for the very last round of School Improvement Grant funds Tuesday.

The program, which has gotten more than $7 billion over the course of the Obama administration, yielded decidedly mixed results when it comes to student achievement, was eliminated under the Every Student Succeeds Act.

So what will replace it? And how school improvement under ESSA be similar to or look different from SIG?

The key similarity:

  • Under ESSA, states are still supposed to identify their bottom 5 percent of performers. And they still get Thumbnail image for ESSA_button.jpgsome resources to fix those schools.

They key differences:  

So what does it mean for an idea to have evidence behind it? We're still figuring that out.

ESSA lays out four different levels of evidence. If a state or district decides to pay for an intervention using Title I money that's been set aside for school improvement, it needs to choose from one of the top three tiers. Districts that want to try out an intervention without using that money can pick something from one of the top tiers, too, or they come up with some rationale, based in research, for using the strategy. (My colleague, Sarah Sparks of Inside School Research fame, has a great breakdown of the different levels of evidence in this post.

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