Found in Education: SIG policy outcomes, teachers in LA, and more.

Fascinating reports in education this week, and I admit I had a little difficulty choosing which to share.  These are the two that really stuck with me.

First is a story out of Politico about the failure (or partial-failure) of the School Improvement Grant program.  I was particularly interested in this article, because I have spent a good part of my research career examining the School Improvement Grant (S.I.G.) policy.  

A quick background - the S.I.G. was a 2009 policy from the Obama administration that aimed to infuse large amounts of money to turnaround the nation's worst schools.  School districts applied to the Department of Education for grants to improve their schools.  Most of the progress was incremental or non-existent, but what is interesting is the bright spots.  For example, Miami-Dade public schools seemed to take a page from the research playbook.  Miami-Dade paid the best teachers extra to teach in the "failing" schools and took the worst teachers and put them in already high performing schools.  Chicago on the other hand saw little to no effect of the funds, as measured by test scores.  According to Politico, in 2014 "just 5 percent of Fenger’s [an underperforming school] juniors met or exceeded state standards in reading, math and English — compared with the district average of 33 percent."  I wasn't surprised.  Based on my research, there was little research to support these results.

Second, the LA Times reported this past week that teachers want "better pay, more planning time, and better preparation." A report from the Center for American Progress also cited the desire for more prestige in the profession i.e. teachers should be seen as professionals not babysitters.  I won't comment further as I am obviously biased.  Still, it will be interesting to see if the ideas from the report get some traction in the policy world or greater community.

And finally, a little fun for the week.  For all the math teachers out there, I saw this cartoon, and it just made me laugh.

Found in Education (F.I.E.) is a weekly blog post on education policy, teaching tips, products, and stories related to education that I find over the week.  See something I should know about? Please send your ideas.  Comment here or leave me a message on Facebook, on Twitter, on Pinterest, or at the store.



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