A new report by the Department of Education indicates that the billions of dollars pumped into education by the Obama Administration had absolutely no impact on improving student achievement.
The main focus of the report, titled School Improvement Grants: Implementation and Effectiveness, was the School Improvement Grants (SIG) program, a program first proposed by President Bush in 2001 as a way of funding reform efforts in the U.S. schools with poor academic performance by students. A large focus of the program was to improve student test scores in math and science, as well as student graduation rates.
After assessing data from nearly 500 schools in 22 states that received SIG funding, independent researchers employed by the Department of Education concluded the program had “no significant impact” on reading or math test scores, high school graduation, or college enrollment.
SIG was ended under recently passed legislation; however, school districts can still request similar types of educational grants through other types of government funding.
While President Bush initially funded the program in 2007 with $616 million of taxpayer dollars, President Obama poured $3.5 billion of taxpayer dollars from the federal stimulus into the program in 2009.
The report comes as the Senate considers the nomination of Betsy Devos as Education Secretary. Ms. Devos is a strong advocate of charter schools, and has also questioned the Obama administration’s approach in spending education money. Her views on reforming education have put her at odds with Democrats and teachers unions who have benefited dramatically from education stimulus funds.
While overall student achievement failed to improve, states were given $100 billion in education stimulus funds in 2009 in a measure approved by Congress. Approximately half of the stimulus went to help states avoid laying off teachers. As a result, teachers remained on the public sector payroll, and the teachers unions continued to soak teachers for dues. In return, the nation’s 2 largest teachers’ unions, the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association, gave $19.2 million dollars to Obama and other Democrats in the 2012 elections.
President Trump and Ms. Devos have championed a different approach than the former SIG program, an approach that empowers low-income families in particular by providing resources that greatly expand the number of available charter schools so that families can have options where to send their kids to school. Additionally, Devos supports The Every Student Succeeds Act, a 2015 law that replaced No Child Left Behind and transferred the power of educational accountability from the federal government back to the states.