Two years ago, the federal government began distributing $3 billion in stimulus funds to some of the nation's lowest performing schools through the School Improvement Grants (SIG) program. With SIG funds, states are expected to rapidly transform schools according to program guidelines put out by the Department of Education.
To look at what's been happening in SIG schools so far, The Hechinger Report, Ed Week, and the Education Writers Association partnered with reporters across the country to write a series of three articles about the successes and hurdles of school turnarounds. Sarah Garland, a staff writer at The Hechinger Report, wrote an article that focused on the teacher evaluation requirements many SIG schools are trying to implement.
On this podcast, Garland explains some of the lessons learned at schools with SIG grants and reflects on what the process has been like for elementary schools. As Garland notes, one criticism she heard while reporting on SIG schools is that turnaround requirements are the same for every age, leaving little opportunity for schools to tailor their turnarounds to elementary or secondary learning strategies. "There's this blueprint and it has to fit for every school," she said.