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Wisconsin gets federal education dollars to improve schools

Wisconsin is among seven states that will receive over $43.4 million to turn around its lowest performing schools.

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced last week that seven states will receive over $43.4 million to continue efforts to turn around their persistently lowest-achieving schools through the Department’s School Improvement Grants (SIG) program.

Two of the states — Arkansas and Kentucky — will receive awards to run a new competition for previously unfunded schools; and five states will receive continuation funds for the third year of implementing a SIG model. These states are Missouri, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Tennessee and Wisconsin.

Wisconsin will receive more than $7.2 million.

“When schools fail, our children and neighborhoods suffer,” Duncan said. “Turning around our lowest-performing schools is hard work but it’s our responsibility. We owe it to our children, their families and the broader community. These School Improvement Grants are helping some of the lowest-achieving schools provide a better education for students who need it the most.”

School Improvement Grants are awarded to State Educational Agencies that then make competitive subgrants to school districts that demonstrate the greatest need for the funds and the strongest commitment to provide adequate resources to substantially raise student achievement in their lowest-performing schools.

Under the Obama Administration, the SIG program has invested up to $2 million per school at more than 1,500 of the country’s lowest-performing schools. Early findings show positive momentum and progress in many SIG schools. Findings also show that many schools receiving SIG grants are improving, and some of the greatest gains have been in small towns and rural communities.