Low performing Georgia schools are getting a major hand up from the U.S Department of Education. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced that Georgia will receive $17.2 million to turn around its persistently lowest achieving schools through the Education Department’s School Improvement Grant (SIG) program.
Six of the states, including Georgia, will receive awards to run a new competition for previously unfunded schools, and six states will receive continuation funds for the third year of implementing a SIG model.
Along with Georgia, the states receiving new awards are: Illinois—$22.2 million; Kansas—$4 million; Massachusetts—$7.2 million; Nevada—$3.8 million and North Carolina—$14.3 million. The seven states receiving continuation awards are: Arkansas—$5.3 million; Delaware—$1.4 million; Florida—$26.8 million; Montana—$1.5 million; New Jersey—$10.4 million; Oregon—$5.4 million; and Washington—$7.8 million.
Here is how the money will be dispersed: The grants are given to state educational agencies (SEAs). The agencies make competitive subgrants to local educational agencies (LEAs) that show the greatest need for the funds and the strongest commitment to use them to provide adequate resources, in order to substantially raise student achievement in their lowest-performing schools.
Under the Obama administration, the SIG program has invested up to $2 million per school at more than 1,300 of the country’s lowest-performing schools. Early findings show positive momentum and progress in many SIG schools. Findings also show that many schools receiving SIG grants are improving, and some of the greatest gains have been in small towns and rural communities.