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6 States & the District of Columbia to Be Awarded For Their Efforts to Develop Schools

US Department of Education Secretary Anne Duncan announced that six states and the district of Columbia will receive a hefty award for their efforts to help turn the worst schools in their districts around—$38 million will be given to the aforementioned bodies to continue their efforts to develop the educational areas in their jurisdiction.

The award-giving body is their  new grant-giving program called the School Improvement Grants (SIG) program which will be taking charge of efforts to rehabilitate and improve educational areas which aren’t doing very well. This effort began last year and is now awarding the states (and the district of Columbia) which were able to increase their performance and make the most use of the funding which was initially provided to them by the SIG.

The following are those receiving these new awards: Delaware, District of Columbia, Georgia, Mississippi, Nebraska, Virginia and West Virginia.

Duncan says that when the educational system suffers, the children suffer, the parents suffer—and subsequently, the entire American population suffers as a result of the lack of education (which eventually becomes the lack of employment). She says that the SIG is the government’s answer to the need for improvement in education and the lack of funding in areas that are often ignored by the government’s larger, more mainstream programs: this is the biggest opportunity that the Department of Education has had to better the lives of Americans everywhere. She further presses that SIG will be giving out grant money based on need as well as the dedication of the states’ educators to improving their educational system.

The School Improvement Grants will be given to the State Education Agencies (SEAs) which will then distribute the grants to school districts which demonstrate the most dire need for the funds as well as the most commitment to improving their educational systems. They will take into account whether the educators have a solid plan for their district’s improvement and if they truly deserve the sub-grant; this will be done during a screening period wherein the applying schools will be reviewed. For schools that are re-applying for the sub-grants, improvement of their students’ achievements will be taken into account.

The SIG program is one of the Obama administration’s most effective programs to date. They have invested more than $2 million so far, in more than 1,500 of the most derelict schools all over the country. Early findings are showing a significant increase in the performance of students from the SIG-funded districts—raised grades, more student interest in co-curricular activities. They also note that the schools which have been given the chance of improvement are improving in their infrastructure as well; the Department of Education is pleased so far in how the grants they’ve given out are being used. They encourage more states to apply for these grants in the years to come; Duncan believes the educational system is on its way to optimum development. Most of the SIG schools are located in small towns and rural communities.

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