Opinion
Markets Opinion

School Improvement RFP of the Week

March 11, 2008 3 min read

Basic Evaluation Still Counts for Market Entry in Colorado School ImprovementFrom the March 10 issue of K-12Leads and Youth Service Markets Report

Announcement: Colorado Will Identify Providers to Assist in Closing the Achievement Gap Due March 31 (Mar 7), Department of Education, Colorado

Their Description:

The purpose of this Request for Information (RFI) is to select educational service providers that offer research proven educational services for inclusion on the 2008-2009 Closing the Achievement Gap Provider list.... There is no guarantee that if selected to be on the provider list an organization will be chosen to serve districts or schools....

This RFI does not include a provision for expenditure of state funds to providers on the list.... Each year there will be an opportunity for new providers to apply to be added to the list by demonstrating that their organization and services meet the eligibility requirements....

The main purpose of the Closing the Achievement Gap Provider is to...Increase the academic achievement of all students as measured by the State’s assessment system and... Reduce race and income achievement gaps.... Providers must demonstrate implementation of effective closing the achievement gap services in
schools and/or districts in one or more of the following areas: Curriculum... Assessment... Instruction... Leadership... Comprehensive and Effective Planning... District Culture... Student, Family and Community Support... Professional Growth and Staff Evaluation... Organization Structure and Resources....

To be included on the list of Closing the Achievement Gap Providers, applicants must... Have data demonstrating effectiveness in increasing student academic achievement and closing race and income achievement gaps.... Provide educational services that are consistent with state academic standards.... Provide service and evaluation that is of high quality, research-based, and specifically designed to increase academic achievement... Be financially sound....

For each area of service chosen, half the score will be determined by data that demonstrates evidence over time of increased student achievement and closing race and income achievement gaps in schools and/or districts with whom you have worked....

Entities applying as a Comprehensive Service Provider must score at a level 3 on the evaluation rubric in the areas of: Curriculum, Assessment, Instruction, Leadership and Comprehensive Planning....

Entities eligible to be included
on the list to provide services may include, but are not limited to: Commercial vendors; Community agencies; Individuals; Institutions of Higher Education; Private companies; and Boards of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES)....

The written submission of the proposal will be reviewed by a team of readers with experience in the content areas.... Applicants with successful written proposals, that have met all criteria... must agree... to participate in an in-person interview.... The review team will determine a final score once the interview has been completed. This is not a competitive grant in that any provider that meets the eligibility criteria may be included on the provider list.... Applicants that do not meet the qualifications... may reapply in future years.

The Colorado Department of Education, in cooperation with the applicable school districts, will monitor the quality and effectiveness of the services offered by providers through the state and federal grants evaluation process and may withdraw approval from providers that fail, for two consecutive years, to contribute to increasing the academic proficiency in schools and/or districts where they provide services....

My Thoughts: To the extent that states become concerned about the efficient use of school improvement funds, and especially decide to create some evidentiary criteria for efficacy, expect to see similar gatekeeping to market entry.••••
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