This post originally appeared on Early Ed Watch.
The U.S. Department of Education has released some preliminary results on the effectiveness of the School Improvement Grant (SIG) program, a $545 million annual program into which the Obama administration poured an additional $3 billion in 2009 stimulus funds to “turn around” failing schools. Our Ed Money Watch colleague Anne Hyslop has an excellent rundown of the SIG data, but we wanted to highlight a few key pieces on how early education seems to have fared.
The big news for the early education world is that “A larger proportion of elementary schools posted gains in the first year of the SIG program, compared to middle and high schools, and they were less likely to see declines.” But talking about the implications of this finding, a healthy dose of skepticism is required.
Here the thing: One year’s worth of data on turning around a failing school is not very valuable. Keep in mind that it’s too soon to be able to judge the effectiveness of the program. These schools were failing, after all, so everyone should temper their expectations about what can happen in a year. With that massive caveat, here are some other issues with the data that Hyslop points out:
We have no idea whether the data issued by the Department are statistically significant. We also have no data on other harder-to-measure aspects of a schools’ climate and potential changes to the community in which its students live.