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Education Department report finds billions spent under Obama had 'no impact' on achievement

Posted by on Jan. 26, 2017 at 6:30 AM
  • 19 Replies
The Obama administration pumped more than $7 billion into an education program, first authorized under President George W. Bush, that had no impact on student achievement – according to a report released by the Department of Education in the final days of the 44th president’s term.

The Department of Education’s findings were contained in its “School Improvement Grants: Implementation and Effectiveness” report. The study could energize the debate over national education policy just as the Senate considers President Trump’s controversial pick to lead the department, Betsy DeVos, an outspoken school choice advocate who has questioned the way federal education dollars are spent.

“The timing of this report is so important and so interesting – this could have a positive influence on her confirmation,” American Enterprise Institute resident fellow Andy Smarick told Fox News.

The School Improvement Grants (SIG) program, first introduced in 2001 under the Bush administration, was created to fund reforms in the country’s lowest-performing schools with the goal of improving student achievement in test scores and graduation rates. The program directed money to schools with low academic achievement and graduation rates below 60 percent for high schools, among other factors. SIG was canceled under recently passed legislation, though similar funding can still be sought by school districts.

SIG was first funded in 2007, receiving $616 million under Bush.

But it wasn’t until 2009, when the Obama administration designated $3.5 billion to the program through the stimulus, that funding soared. The administration continued to pump more than $500 million annually to the program for the rest of his presidency.

The report, though, focused on data from nearly 500 schools in 22 states that received SIG funding, and concluded the program had “no significant impact” on reading or math test scores; high school graduation; or college enrollment.

“Overall, we found that the SIG program had no impact on student achievement,” co-author of the report Lisa Dragoset told Fox News.

The authors are “non-partisan” researchers in the Education Department, according to Tom Wei, project officer from the department’s Institute of Education Sciences.

“We focused on districts with larger samples of schools, and so these schools tended to be more urban and more disadvantaged,” Wei told Fox News. “We looked at the schools that were on the cusp of being eligible to receive SIG funding.”

A department spokesperson not involved in drafting the report told Fox News they are “continuing to review the study.”

Smarick said then-Secretary Arne Duncan had approached SIG as a big bet, considering the “body of research out there for years that if you put more resources into failing districts and failing schools, you’re not going to get better student achievement.” In the end, he said, “They decided to go ahead and put as much money as possible into the program to make it work, which led us to this dramatic report: what happened was what has always happened in the past.”

Neither Duncan nor previous education secretaries under Obama and Bush responded to requests for comment on the billions spent and the report’s findings.

But Nina Rees, deputy education undersecretary under the Bush administration -- and now CEO of the National Alliance of Public Charter Schools -- called the results no surprise.

“Some of these schools received huge injections of cash and had an absent leader who did not know how to leverage the money constructively, and that is not a good recipe for success,” Rees told Fox News. “The premise of the program was extremely sound, but it is simply human nature to pick things that are easier to implement as opposed to a more aggressive approach.”

Rees, who is a proponent of school choice, also supports Betsy DeVos for education secretary in the Trump administration and believes charter schools need more funding and full autonomy.

Smarick suggested, in light of the new findings, DeVos’ approach could be helpful.

“DeVos’ career has been trying to answer these questions differently than SIG – Betsy’s approach is to empower the low-income families by pumping resources to expand the number of schools available so that the families can have the option of school choice,” he said.

Charter schools, at the heart of the school choice movement, are publicly funded schools run by independent groups. President Trump has suggested pumping an additional $20 billion into school choice -- with the funds redirected from existing federal accounts.

The Trump/DeVos approach faces scrutiny from some Democrats, who chided DeVos during her confirmation hearing and suggested charter schools are held to a different standard.

"There are times when it appears that charter schools are used as a wedge to attack public education, and the signals of that tend to be that failing charter schools are protected compared to failing public schools," Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., said in the hearing. "The standards really aren't there."

Rees told Fox News the federal government has played a crucial role in education since 1965, ensuring the needs of low-income and minority students are met by spending more money to “even the playing field.”

“Some argue that money isn’t enough to make a difference, but I do think that it is important for us to pay attention to the needs of the lowest-performing students and schools and to continue to invest in them,” she said, while also stressing the role of parents.

DeVos, meanwhile, is set for a vote on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on Jan. 31.

“It's no surprise that last week's report from the Education Department proves that the Washington-knows-best model of No Child Left Behind and the Obama administration waivers didn't work,” a committee aide told Fox News.

Committee Republicans and DeVos instead are pushing the implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act, which passed in 2015 and effectively replaced No Child Left Behind (also nixing the SIG program). The bipartisan measure preserves standardized testing but eliminates the consequences for states and localities with poor performance.

The aide said that legislation was in part a response to the “heavy-handed approach” of the School Improvement Grants, adding: “This report is welcome news and proof that Congress was right to change the law.”






http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/01/25/education-department-report-finds-billions-spent-under-obama-had-no-impact-on-achievement.html






Link to report:

https://ies.ed.gov/ncee/pubs/20174013/pdf/20174013.pdf


by on Jan. 26, 2017 at 6:30 AM
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Replies (1-10):
Missus_Mom
by Silver Member on Jan. 26, 2017 at 7:16 AM
It is unfair to blame failing schools or poor student performance on President Obama. No way could President Obama do anything about crappy parents, which is the number one problem in schools.

The federal government has tried to fix the gap between the schools that have more money and those who dont, as they probably should. Some programs work others dont, mostly because you can't fix crappy parenting
broboxer
by Platinum Member on Jan. 26, 2017 at 7:23 AM
Throwing more money at a problem is not always the solution. But I do agree with you, it needs to start with the parents.

Quoting Missus_Mom: It is unfair to blame failing schools or poor student performance on President Obama. No way could President Obama do anything about crappy parents, which is the number one problem in schools.



The federal government has tried to fix the gap between the schools that have more money and those who dont, as they probably should. Some programs work others dont, mostly because you can't fix crappy parenting
MamaRett
by Member on Jan. 26, 2017 at 7:33 AM
1 mom liked this

Throwing more money at schools isn't the answer and even more money isn't the answer.

Standardized testing isn't the answer either...

We can already send our kids for "free" aka our tax dollars, to the charter school of our choice if we want out of typical public schools.  The only ones benefiting from school choice will be private schools as they cost money in tuition.  

We need better more prepared teachers who are not forced to teach every student to "a test".  Our kids need more recess than 15 minutes a day because they can't take time away from working towards THE TEST that is coming.  The need to move and run and talk.  

Dump the huge test at the end of the year that "makes or breaks" students and teachers alike.  Allow the teachers to track each child and their progress toward real reading and writing and math goals...make sure they understand concepts and are learning their way towards the next grades material.  

Give the teachers back more power in the classroom to control their students learning.  

They don't need smart boards, ipads, every student their own laptop, etc etc where I see money being thrown oh or ereaders (and having library books taken out and thrown away because the school has too many...I am not making this up!!)

The studies are out there on how to improve education if we look to other countries and areas of the world.  Scandinavia, the Philippines, and parts of Asia.  

We are doing it wrong and we just can't admit it.  

I also think before anyone in a political position proposes anything to do with education they need to spend a month substitute teaching at an elementary school....kinder through fifth grade and see first hand what teachers deal with everyday.  And Betty DeVos needs a year, one month spent in each grade level in a typical lower middle American school system to see what she is trying to "fix".

Thank you rant over!!

Missus_Mom
by Silver Member on Jan. 26, 2017 at 7:35 AM
I get that.. But the federal government is trying. Too bad they can't legislate crappy parents.

Quoting broboxer: Throwing more money at a problem is not always the solution. But I do agree with you, it needs to start with the parents.

Quoting Missus_Mom: It is unfair to blame failing schools or poor student performance on President Obama. No way could President Obama do anything about crappy parents, which is the number one problem in schools.

The federal government has tried to fix the gap between the schools that have more money and those who dont, as they probably should. Some programs work others dont, mostly because you can't fix crappy parenting
bookaddict88
by on Jan. 26, 2017 at 7:39 AM
3 moms liked this
Charter schools aren't the answer either. One of the worst schools in my district is a charter school. Increasing school $ isn't the answer either. The answer is (partially) parental involvement and making sure that children are seeing school as a priority. That does not come from a school official or from money. That starts at home.
caustinb
by Member on Jan. 26, 2017 at 7:47 AM
The recess thing makes me so insane. I'm an adult and I require more downtime than that to be at my best. I can't understand why they expect that small children will do well with no breaks.

Quoting MamaRett:

Throwing more money at schools isn't the answer and even more money isn't the answer.

Standardized testing isn't the answer either...

We can already send our kids for "free" aka our tax dollars, to the charter school of our choice if we want out of typical public schools.  The only ones benefiting from school choice will be private schools as they cost money in tuition.  

We need better more prepared teachers who are not forced to teach every student to "a test".  Our kids need more recess than 15 minutes a day because they can't take time away from working towards THE TEST that is coming.  The need to move and run and talk.  

Dump the huge test at the end of the year that "makes or breaks" students and teachers alike.  Allow the teachers to track each child and their progress toward real reading and writing and math goals...make sure they understand concepts and are learning their way towards the next grades material.  

Give the teachers back more power in the classroom to control their students learning.  

They don't need smart boards, ipads, every student their own laptop, etc etc where I see money being thrown oh or ereaders (and having library books taken out and thrown away because the school has too many...I am not making this up!!)

The studies are out there on how to improve education if we look to other countries and areas of the world.  Scandinavia, the Philippines, and parts of Asia.  

We are doing it wrong and we just can't admit it.  

I also think before anyone in a political position proposes anything to do with education they need to spend a month substitute teaching at an elementary school....kinder through fifth grade and see first hand what teachers deal with everyday.  And Betty DeVos needs a year, one month spent in each grade level in a typical lower middle American school system to see what she is trying to "fix".

Thank you rant over!!

Missus_Mom
by Silver Member on Jan. 26, 2017 at 8:03 AM
A group of moms and I fought and won recess back for our kids!! Our kids now get at least 30 minutes of recess every day. :). Behavior issues have gone down (shocking lol.. Especially for boys full of energy!!!!)

I see the need to testing, but would love to see a students progression count just as much. If a student doesnt do well on the tests then their portfolio of progression should work.

I think as the kinks to common core and the kinks of testing work themselves out that teachers wi be able to teach to the class again. That is the good thing about common core. Common core is just a set of guidelines students should learn at each grade not a curriculum.

The curriculum comes from county school boards. If your teachers are only teaching to the test, work with them and advocate for change at your local school board. Get other parents involved to help make changes. Volunteer at your school. Listen. Clearly explain obstacles to other parents so they can help advocate for changes. This isn't a federal government issue. It is a local issue.

Quoting MamaRett:

Throwing more money at schools isn't the answer and even more money isn't the answer.

Standardized testing isn't the answer either...

We can already send our kids for "free" aka our tax dollars, to the charter school of our choice if we want out of typical public schools.  The only ones benefiting from school choice will be private schools as they cost money in tuition.  

We need better more prepared teachers who are not forced to teach every student to "a test".  Our kids need more recess than 15 minutes a day because they can't take time away from working towards THE TEST that is coming.  The need to move and run and talk.  

Dump the huge test at the end of the year that "makes or breaks" students and teachers alike.  Allow the teachers to track each child and their progress toward real reading and writing and math goals...make sure they understand concepts and are learning their way towards the next grades material.  

Give the teachers back more power in the classroom to control their students learning.  

They don't need smart boards, ipads, every student their own laptop, etc etc where I see money being thrown oh or ereaders (and having library books taken out and thrown away because the school has too many...I am not making this up!!)

The studies are out there on how to improve education if we look to other countries and areas of the world.  Scandinavia, the Philippines, and parts of Asia.  

We are doing it wrong and we just can't admit it.  

I also think before anyone in a political position proposes anything to do with education they need to spend a month substitute teaching at an elementary school....kinder through fifth grade and see first hand what teachers deal with everyday.  And Betty DeVos needs a year, one month spent in each grade level in a typical lower middle American school system to see what she is trying to "fix".

Thank you rant over!!

Missus_Mom
by Silver Member on Jan. 26, 2017 at 8:04 AM
Speak up and change it!!
:) Parents can speak up and make a change.

Quoting caustinb: The recess thing makes me so insane. I'm an adult and I require more downtime than that to be at my best. I can't understand why they expect that small children will do well with no breaks.

Quoting MamaRett:

Throwing more money at schools isn't the answer and even more money isn't the answer.

Standardized testing isn't the answer either...

We can already send our kids for "free" aka our tax dollars, to the charter school of our choice if we want out of typical public schools.  The only ones benefiting from school choice will be private schools as they cost money in tuition.  

We need better more prepared teachers who are not forced to teach every student to "a test".  Our kids need more recess than 15 minutes a day because they can't take time away from working towards THE TEST that is coming.  The need to move and run and talk.  

Dump the huge test at the end of the year that "makes or breaks" students and teachers alike.  Allow the teachers to track each child and their progress toward real reading and writing and math goals...make sure they understand concepts and are learning their way towards the next grades material.  

Give the teachers back more power in the classroom to control their students learning.  

They don't need smart boards, ipads, every student their own laptop, etc etc where I see money being thrown oh or ereaders (and having library books taken out and thrown away because the school has too many...I am not making this up!!)

The studies are out there on how to improve education if we look to other countries and areas of the world.  Scandinavia, the Philippines, and parts of Asia.  

We are doing it wrong and we just can't admit it.  

I also think before anyone in a political position proposes anything to do with education they need to spend a month substitute teaching at an elementary school....kinder through fifth grade and see first hand what teachers deal with everyday.  And Betty DeVos needs a year, one month spent in each grade level in a typical lower middle American school system to see what she is trying to "fix".

Thank you rant over!!

MamaRett
by Member on Jan. 26, 2017 at 8:43 AM
1 mom liked this

Thanks for the advice...I subbed at my kids school for four years I learned the curriculum, got to know the teachers, the rules, the laws (district, city and state).  I volunteered: served on PTA, worked in the library, read in the classrooms, etc etc.  However, I am stuck on leading the big campaign for change as my husband's job depends on the districts awarding work.  His wife leads the charge on change and suddenly he could have no job.  Also, I am a teacher by trade and if I want to get hired again you don't want to be known as the rebel rouser.  

I educate other parents I speak up when asked what I think...I serve on the Campus Improvement Committee.  

I am doing all I can do without effecting our family's income.  I keep hoping to find parents who will "go for it" with the district, the city and the state.  They start and get so bogged down in bureaucracy.  

I am very happy you got change and more recess.  Me personally I have one more year with a child in elementary then I am OUT.  I will volunteer in the middle school and at the high school, oh and within the organizations my kids join.  I am tired...so tired...tired of the whole big mess...I think a lot of people who try and work within the system burn out.  That is why the average teacher's years of teaching is three...they burn out in three years.  I have been going eleven years and I am tired...

Quoting Missus_Mom: A group of moms and I fought and won recess back for our kids!! Our kids now get at least 30 minutes of recess every day. :). Behavior issues have gone down (shocking lol.. Especially for boys full of energy!!!!) I see the need to testing, but would love to see a students progression count just as much. If a student doesnt do well on the tests then their portfolio of progression should work. I think as the kinks to common core and the kinks of testing work themselves out that teachers wi be able to teach to the class again. That is the good thing about common core. Common core is just a set of guidelines students should learn at each grade not a curriculum. The curriculum comes from county school boards. If your teachers are only teaching to the test, work with them and advocate for change at your local school board. Get other parents involved to help make changes. Volunteer at your school. Listen. Clearly explain obstacles to other parents so they can help advocate for changes. This isn't a federal government issue. It is a local issue.
Quoting MamaRett:

Throwing more money at schools isn't the answer and even more money isn't the answer.

Standardized testing isn't the answer either...

We can already send our kids for "free" aka our tax dollars, to the charter school of our choice if we want out of typical public schools.  The only ones benefiting from school choice will be private schools as they cost money in tuition.  

We need better more prepared teachers who are not forced to teach every student to "a test".  Our kids need more recess than 15 minutes a day because they can't take time away from working towards THE TEST that is coming.  The need to move and run and talk.  

Dump the huge test at the end of the year that "makes or breaks" students and teachers alike.  Allow the teachers to track each child and their progress toward real reading and writing and math goals...make sure they understand concepts and are learning their way towards the next grades material.  

Give the teachers back more power in the classroom to control their students learning.  

They don't need smart boards, ipads, every student their own laptop, etc etc where I see money being thrown oh or ereaders (and having library books taken out and thrown away because the school has too many...I am not making this up!!)

The studies are out there on how to improve education if we look to other countries and areas of the world.  Scandinavia, the Philippines, and parts of Asia.  

We are doing it wrong and we just can't admit it.  

I also think before anyone in a political position proposes anything to do with education they need to spend a month substitute teaching at an elementary school....kinder through fifth grade and see first hand what teachers deal with everyday.  And Betty DeVos needs a year, one month spent in each grade level in a typical lower middle American school system to see what she is trying to "fix".

Thank you rant over!!


Luvnlogic
by Platinum Member on Jan. 26, 2017 at 8:48 AM
Money needs to be better directed, imo. Fix schools that are literally falling apart, make sure they have access to books and learning materials, incentivize teachers who work in high risk schools, expand programs for struggling and advanced learners, expand before and after school programs to keep kids busy and productive. Benchmark testing to make sure schools are performing at a minimum standard across the nation has value, but teaching to the test and the stress it puts on kids and faculty is making things worse. I think an expansion in the counseling depts of schools is needed, too. It would reduce the class time now being spent dealing with behavior and social issues. Never take away recess!!! And introducing more innovative pilot programs and small charter schools to keep searching for a way to improve our education system. If it takes more money, fine. But it probably could be done by re-allocating what's already being spent.
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