U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan today announced that Arizona will receive $10.4 million to continue efforts to turn around its persistently lowest-achieving schools through the Department's School Improvement Grants (SIG) program. Arizona is among the 25 states that have received continuation awards for the third year of implementing a SIG model. In addition to Arizona, other states are: Alaska—$1.5 million; Arkansas—$5.3 million; Connecticut—$3.6 million; Delaware—$1.4 million; Florida—$26.8 million; Iowa—$3 million; Kentucky—$7.7 million; Maryland—$6.8 million; Minnesota—$5.5 million; Mississippi—$6.1 million; Montana—$1.5 million; New Jersey—$10.4 million; New Mexico—$4.1 million; North Dakota—$1.2 million; Ohio—$20.2 million; Oklahoma—$5.5 million; Oregon—$5.4 million; South Carolina—$7.4 million; South Dakota—$1.5 million; Texas—$49.7 million; Utah—$3.4 million; Washington—$7.8 million; West Virginia—$3.3 million; and Wyoming—$1.1 million. In addition to continuation awards, the Department awarded SIG grants to 10 states to run new competitions for previously unfunded schools.
"When schools fail, our children and our 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.”
Grants are awarded to State Educational Agencies (SEAs) that then make competitive subgrants to local educational agencies (LEAs) that demonstrate the greatest need for the funds and the strongest commitment to use them to provide adequate resources, in order 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 1,300 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.