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State of Education: School Improvement Grant funding
It's known as School Improvement Grant, or SIG funding. And now, for all ten SIG districts in the state, funding has been suspended. Vince Gallagher reports.
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“If you set rules that you hold to them, I expect the federal government will hold us as a state to the commitments we made with Race to the Top, we're going to hold districts to the commitments they made in Race to the Top and School Improvement Grants," said Dr. John King, NYS Education Commissioner.
The districts affected are New York City, Syracuse, Buffalo, Rochester, Yonkers, Albany, Schenectady, Roosevelt, Poughkeepsie, and Greenburgh 11. One question is: Why does the Education Commissioner feel these schools didn't "make the grade?" For the most part, he says it's about a shift in culture.
"That's a big change...it's a change in practice, it requires principals to approach their work differently and so it's going to take us some time to get that done. What we really need here is a level of commitment on the part of adults to do what's in the best interest of students," said Dr. King.
But then there's another view. For example, at the New York State United Teachers, the view is that this will have a negative impact on schools that really can't afford this action in the first place.
"These districts are in great need, they need help, they need support, they're at the table working. What we need is the commissioner to come to the table, we need SED to come to the table and support their work," said Richard Iannuzzi, NYSUT president.
Looking at further reaction, it almost puts on a new spin on school bullying.
"What we're looking at now is SED basically applying bullies and bureaucrats to what should be happening in classrooms...that's not going to get us reform, that's not going to be good for kids," said Iannuzzi.
But when it comes to resolving this, is there a role for the governor?
"We've appreciated his support for a rigorous transparent evaluation system, I think he's committed to seeing such an evaluation put into place," said Dr. King.
And in this economical climate, another big question is: Where's the money?
"I certainly would expect them to get the money back, we'll do everything we can to force the system so the money can come back whether it's working on Washington,” said Iannuzzi.
In the meantime, while working on the funding, the commissioner also stated that all ten districts can request a hearing to further discuss their improvement grades.