One of the Obama administration’s most ambitious school reform initiatives was its dramatic increase in funding for so-called School Improvement Grants (SIGs) aimed at turning around the nation’s worst performing schools. Under the 2009 economic stimulus act, the SIG program spent an additional $3 billion above its previously allocated $546 million, beginning in the 2010–11 school year, to support more than 1,200 struggling schools with high concentrations of students from low-income households. The grant awards to each school amounted to as much as $2 million a year for three years.
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This Century Foundation report synthesizes that evidence about the SIG initiative and provides recommendations for enabling many more chronically struggling schools serving low-income populations to better educate their students.