I posted the other day that Arne Duncan’s punitive, data-driven, high-stakes “School Improvement Grants” program did not have any impact on test scores, which was its goal. $3.5 Billion blown away, used to fire principals, fire teachers, turn schools over to charters, and close schools. I read on Twitter that the failure of SIG proves that money doesn’t matter. That’s nonsense. Money spent on the wrong things doesn’t matter. If children are misbehaving because they are sick and hungry, they need medical care and food, not belies of consultants and  programs unrelated to their actual needs.

 

Peter Greene explains here what the failure of SIG shows, aside from a skewed understanding of how to improve schools.

 

“SIG was like food stamps that could only be spent on baby formula, ostrich eggs, and venison, and it didn’t matter if the families receiving the stamps lived on a farm with fresh milk and chicken eggs, or if they were vegetarians, or if they lived where no store sells ostrich eggs, or if there are no babies in the family. USED used SIG to dictate strategy and buy compliance with their micro-managing notions about how schools had to be fixed.

 

“The moral of the story is not that money doesn’t make a difference. The moral of the story is that when bureaucrats in DC dictate exactly how money must be spent– and they are wrong about their theory of action and wrong about the strategies that should be used by each school and wrong about how to measure the effectiveness of those strategies– then the money is probably wasted. We’ll see soon enough if anyone left at the Department of Education can identify that lesson.”