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ERIC Number: ED532799
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Mar
Pages: 43
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 5
Opportunities and Obstacles: Implementing Stimulus-Funded School Improvement Grants in Maryland, Michigan, and Idaho
Scott, Caitlin; McMurrer, Jennifer; McIntosh, Shelby; Dibner, Kenne
Center on Education Policy
State and local educators encountered both opportunities and obstacles in their first year of implementing the School Improvement Grants (SIGs) funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). In 2009, the ARRA, better known as the economic stimulus package, provided $3 billion for SIGs to help reform persistently low-achieving schools, on top of the $546 million that had already been appropriated for fiscal year 2009 for school improvement grants authorized by section 1003(g) of Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. With the extra ARRA appropriation, states received a total of more than $3.5 billion for section 1003(g) SIGs; these are three-year grants that must be spent by September 30, 2013. This infusion of additional money was also accompanied by new requirements from the U.S. Department of Education (ED) that targeted ARRA SIG funds on the lowest-performing 5% of schools within each state and that limited these schools to using one of four school improvement models. These models include (1) transformation, which entails replacing the school principal and undertaking three other specific reforms; (2) turnaround, which involves replacing the principal and many of the school staff; (3) restart, which means becoming a charter or privately managed school; and (4) school closure. School year 2010-11 was the first year these grants were implemented. This report examines the first year of ARRA SIG implementation in Maryland, Michigan, and Idaho. The authors intentionally selected these states, as well as schools within these states, to represent different geographic locations and different types of schools and improvement models. They also brought to bear their knowledge about past school improvement efforts drawn from six years of prior CEP research in Maryland, eight years in Michigan, and studies in California, Georgia, New York, and Ohio. The authors' analysis led to several key findings that cut across multiple states: (1) The state and local officials they interviewed in Maryland and Michigan had more positive views about the appropriateness of the SIG requirements than did those in Idaho; (2) Views differed among the three states about whether the amount of ARRA SIG funding was appropriate, but state and local officials in all three states expressed concern about whether reforms can be sustained after this funding ends; (3) All three states are providing some common types of monitoring and assistance to ARRA SIG schools, including assigning state-level coaches or assistants to work with leaders and teachers in these schools, requiring school progress reports, and coordinating a network of ARRA SIG grantees; (4) ARRA SIG requirements undervalue the critical role of districts in school improvement, according to state officials in Michigan and Idaho; (5) Many of the ARRA SIG schools in the study, as well as the non-recipient schools, are using similar improvement strategies that emphasize instructional coaching, extended learning time, and a focus on school climate; (6) In Michigan and Idaho, the schools in the study that received ARRA SIG awards are undertaking more intensive and different improvement strategies than non-recipient schools; (7) Replacing teachers and principals was the challenge most often cited by both ARRA SIG schools and non-recipient schools in the study; (8) Officials in both the ARRA SIG schools and non-recipient schools in the study seem optimistic that they are on the right track toward improvement; and (9) State and local interviewees in all three states would like to see some changes in ARRA SIG requirements. (Contains 6 tables and 3 boxes.) [For key findings, "Key Findings from Two Reports on Federal School Improvement Grants by the Center on Education Policy," see ED532798. For study methods, "Opportunities and Obstacles: Implementing Stimulus-Funded School Improvement Grants in Maryland, Michigan, and Idaho. Study Methods," see ED532797. For the State case studies, see "[Opportunities and Obstacles: Implementing Stimulus-Funded School Improvement Grants in Maryland, Michigan, and Idaho. Idaho Case Study]" (ED532792); "[Opportunities and Obstacles: Implementing Stimulus-Funded School Improvement Grants in Maryland, Michigan, and Idaho. Maryland Case Study]" (ED532791); and "[Opportunities and Obstacles: Implementing Stimulus-Funded School Improvement Grants in Maryland, Michigan, and Idaho. Michigan Case Study]" (ED532795).]
Center on Education Policy. 2140 Pennsylvania Avenue NW Room 103, Washington, DC 20037. Tel: 202-822-8065; Fax: 202-994-8859; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education; Elementary Secondary Education; High Schools; Middle Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: William and Flora Hewlett Foundation; George Gund Foundation; Phi Delta Kappa International
Authoring Institution: Center on Education Policy
Identifiers - Location: Idaho; Maryland; Michigan
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: American Recovery and Reinvestment Act 2009; Elementary and Secondary Education Act Title I; No Child Left Behind Act 2001; Race to the Top
IES Cited: ED544777; ED544778; ED559928; ED565803