HARTFORD — The state is set to receive $25.7 million to close its achievement gap, the largest in the nation.
Gov. M. Jodi Rell announced the news today in a press release. Rell stated that Connecticut will receive $25.7 million in federal stimulus funds aimed at closing the achievement gap by providing school districts with the resources to improve their lowest performing schools.
The state Department of Education will provide the School Improvement Grants (SIG) to eligible school districts in order for them to turn around their lowest achieving schools, particularly those who serve children living in poverty.
“Every Connecticut child should have the opportunity to excel in the classroom. We have some of the highest performing schools in the nation, and unfortunately, some of the lowest. These dollars will go a long way toward closing that achievement gap,” Rell said.
The grants will allow school districts to improve their curriculum, change administration and” in the most drastic cases, close down a school,” Rell said.
Earlier this year, the Rell adminisration created a committee to address the achievement gap and the state’s education committee approve the Black and Latino Caucus proposal to help close the achievement gap. And a committee was also formed
The $25.7 million, being distributed to states through the U.S. Department of Education, will be awarded to local school districts on a competitive basis. To apply, a school district must have a state-identified “persistently lowest achieving” school. Eligible districts are: Hartford, New Haven, New Britain, Bridgeport, Windham, Area Cooperative Educational Services (ACES) and Stamford Academy, a charter school. Districts may qualify for as much as $2 million per school and must apply for the funding by May 14.
State Education Commissioner Mark K. McQuillan said that “the money will further previous efforts and assist with restructuring efforts ” that can accelerate improvements and expand services to students who really need them the most.”
Connecticut’s application, which includes its list of persistently lowest achieving schools, as defined by the state, can be found here.