Friday, December 27, 2013

DESE accepts more federal strings-attached grants for K.C., St. Louis schools

It's all about the money.

This news release from the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), makes it sound as if receiving $7.5 million in federal grants for failing schools is a good thing, but read through the kinds of ideas that DESE and the federal government think are good for education and you can see why our educational system in the United States is heading in the wrong direction.

It appears the federal government is more interested in new programs, career pathways, and all kinds of professional development, with probably none of it anything that will ever translate into the classroom. No wonder the Joplin School District keeps thinking it has a shot at the Race to the Top grant:

The U.S. Department of Education has awarded $7.5 million in grant money to Missouri’s lowest- achieving schools. This is the fifth consecutive year the grants have been awarded to Missouri, one of seven states receiving a total of more than $43 million in 2013.
The funds from this continuation award will go to schools identified by the Department as priority schools:
In the St. Louis Public School District –
  • Dunbar and Branch
  • Laclede Elementary
  • Roosevelt High School
  • Meramec Elementary
  • Earl Nance, St. Elementary
  • Yeatman-Liddell Middle School
  • Oak Hill Elementary
  • Sumner High School
In Riverview Gardens School District –
  • Lewis and Clark Elementary
  • Lemasters Elementary
  • Meadows Elementary
  • Moline Elementary
Grants were also awarded to Martin Luther King Elementary in Kansas City 33 and Frederick Douglass High School in Columbia Public Schools.

The U.S. Department of Education expects the grant money to be used for the implementation of one of four rigorous school intervention models: turnaround, restart, school closure or transformation in each identified school. Missouri schools that have received grants have typically used the money for additional staff such as instructional coaches or college and career readiness counselors; technology; implementation of reading and math programs; extended learning opportunities such as Saturday school, extended days, or classes during spring and winter break; improving graduation rates; and professional development for teachers and staff.

Preparing, developing and supporting effective educators is one of the key goals of Missouri's Top 10 by 20 campaign, which aims to place Missouri's student achievement among the top 10 academically performing states in the U.S. by 2020.

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