After spending time with district leaders in NY & LA this week, I was struck by the impending challenge of integrating district accountability and improvement efforts with federal School Improvement Grants. The feds have signaled that $3.5 billion in SIGs will require alignment with four strategies (transformation, turnaround, restart, closure). Directions may even include proportionality between strategies. A large percentage of turnarounds (requiring 50% restaffing) and restarts would mean a huge number of terminations. I don’t know what this means in districts where teachers can’t be fired.

This will be compounded in states winning RttT grants—they will come with similar requirements. The intersection of local, state and federal education policy will be heated and dynamic over the next 24 months.

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Tom Vander Ark is author of Difference Making at the Heart of Learning, The Power of Place, Better Together, Smart Parents, Smart Cities and Getting Smart. He is co-founder of Getting Smart and Learn Capital and serves on the boards of Education Board Partners, 4.0 Schools, Digital Learning Institute, Latinx Education Collaborative, Mastery Transcript Consortium and eduInnovation. Follow Tom on Twitter, @tvanderark.


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