Probing Improvement Grants Yield

The Institute of Education Sciences (IES) has released its final evaluation of the School Improvement Grants (SIG) program, part of the No Child Left Behind Act, concluding that “seven years and $7 billion later, the … program seems … not to have yielded much in terms of improved student achievement.” 

However, evaluation coauthor Lisa Dragoset cautioned that the overall findings don’t “necessarily mean that no student benefited from attending a SIG school.”

U.S. Department of Education spokesperson Dorie Turner Nolt responded, “This outcome reminds us that turning around our lowest-performing schools is some of the hardest, most complex work in education, and that we don’t yet have solid evidence on effective, replicable, comprehensive school improvement strategies.” 

ED Withdraws “Supplement-Not-Supplant”

The U.S. Department of Education has withdrawn its proposed “supplement-not-supplant” regulation under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The requirement was put into place to see that Title I funds “supplement state and local funds, and do not supplant them” and was intended “to ensure that the federal resources were spent to provide the additional educational resources and supports that at-risk students need to succeed, instead of being used to simply make up for unfair shortfalls in state and local funding,” according to ESSA updates.

The decision to enact “supplement-not-supplant” was criticized by civil rights groups. Senate Education Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Republican lawmakers had threatened to kill the rule if the department moved forward. 

The ED responded by asserting that its work on “supplement-not-supplant” was a reflection of “the commitment in the law to get Title I dollars to the students most in need and the national responsibility to address issues of resource equity.”

Seeking Safe Passage

In Menlo Park, CA, parents have formed a network called Parents for Safe Routes, whose goal is to make local schools safer for bicyclists and pedestrians.

Making travel to and from school safer for students is part of a growing movement spreading across the country. 

Programs such as the one in California aim to help make roads safer in a number of different ways, including creating “carpools with designated drop-off and pickup locations, which would take cars off the road.”

Aid for Homeless Students

An increasing number of students “are struggling with homelessness, with the number of homeless children reaching a total of 1.36 million in the 2013–14 school year,” according to the U.S. Department of Education.

To address the issue, the Albuquerque Public Schools’ Title I Homeless Project is seeking donations to aid in their efforts to help homeless students. The project helps to provide school supplies, school uniforms, after-school programs, and assistance with enrollment to students who lack a stable residence.