States, Districts Scramble on Turnaround Deadline
The fast-track effort to overhaul low-performing schools, a centerpiece of U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s school improvement agenda, has state and local education leaders scrambling to prepare and launch aggressive interventions at their most troubled campuses.
Within two months, hundreds of low-performing schools targeted for turnaround must make drastic changes—in many cases, replacing the principal and at least some teachers—under new rules for the federal Title I School Improvement Grant program. Taking those steps hinges largely on states’ receiving their shares of the $3.5 billion available for the grants, an unprecedented federal investment in the nation’s chronically underperforming schools.
But at least 16 states, including Illinois, Massachusetts, and Tennessee, were still waiting as of June 30 for officials at the U.S. Department of Education to give final approval to their plans for overseeing scores of school turnarounds over the next three years. Other states have had since March and April...
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