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In 2009, as part of President Obama’s signature economic policy that was passed into law as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which is more popularly known as the “stimulus package,” President Obama dedicated some $7 billion for the express purpose of improving academically failing schools through School Improvement Grants (SIG). In order to be eligible to receive a grant, the failing schools had to adopt one of four models for improvement that had been approved by the U.S. Department of Education.
Last week, the U.S. Department of Education released a report that concludes that money was wasted, especially in terms of either improving student test scores or graduation rates:
There were no significant impacts of SIG-funded models on math or reading test scores, high school graduation, or college enrollment of students in schools at the SIG eligibility cutoff… For 2012–2013, the impact on math test scores was 0.01 standard deviations, the impact on reading test scores was 0.08 standard deviations, and the impact on high school graduation was -5 percentage points, but these impacts were not statistically significant.
John Sexton of Hot Air interprets the report’s basic findings:
So the graduation rate actually went down, just not in a statistically significant way.
The Washington Post‘s Emma Brown echoes that conclusion:
One of the Obama administration’s signature efforts in education, which pumped billions of federal dollars into overhauling the nation’s worst schools, failed to produce meaningful results, according to a federal analysis.
Test scores, graduation rates and college enrollment were no different in schools that received money through the School Improvement Grants program — the largest federal investment ever targeted to failing schools — than in schools that did not.
The Education Department published the findings on the website of its research division on Wednesday, hours before President Obama’s political appointees walked out the door.
Such is the way of Washington D.C. bureaucrats, where failures are covered up for as long as needed before they escape to avoid personal accountability.