Last month, the U.S. Department of Education released an analysis of the federal School Improvement Grants program, which invests in persistently underperforming schools with the expectation that they will turn around. The early results of its most recent $3-billion infusion? “Mixed.”
And yesterday, we were joined by three leading voices on urban schooling for a full-on SIG Smackdown: the Department of Education's Carmel Martin, Bellwether Education and Fordham edu-wonk Andy Smarick, and former Chicago schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard.
Checker is punchy this AM--he's already jabbed fed, state, AND local govt. efficiency #SIGSmackdown— Fordham Institute (@educationgadfly) December 17, 2012
Carmel boarded the carousel first, making the claim that the SIG program has the potential to turn schools around—if we give it more time:
Carmel Martin: I view the SIG program with pragmatic realism--cautious optimism #SIGSmackdown— Fordham Institute (@educationgadfly) December 17, 2012
.@educationgadfly: I'm curious for Carmel's take on the new SIG models that were proposed under the Senate ESEA renewal bill.— Politics K-12 (@PoliticsK12) December 17, 2012
Martin pre-rebuts @smarick: Charters need to be a part of the solution, but can't give up on the public sector— Fordham Institute (@educationgadfly) December 17, 2012
Raring to go, Andy Smarick began dismantling the SIG carousel horse by horse:
Unfortunately, Andy forgot one key detail:
Jean-Claude Brizard, former CEO of the Chicago Public Schools, gave us all a reality check:
Brizard: Can't fix failing schools w/out fixing failing districts. Policies, politics matter #SIGSmackdown— Fordham Institute (@educationgadfly) December 17, 2012
@educationgadfly An important emergent theme is to allow principals & their teachers the flexibility to drive strategy. Amen.— StudentsFirstOH (@StudentsFirstOH) December 17, 2012
Thanks to all who attended. You can now watch the smackdown for yourself.