Arne Duncan believes increasing the time that under-performing students spend in school is one way to improve achievement. But a new study of a Miami-Dade County Public Schools initiative — ‘Schools Improvement Zone’– found the opposite to be true.
The Schools Improvement Zone was a $100 million, 3 year program, that targeted 39 schools throughout the county. The students had longer school days, a longer school year, and a specialized reading program. According to the study, the project failed to boost student achievement and the longer school days left students and teachers tired.
When former Superintendent Rudy Crew arrived in Miami in 2004, he made the School Improvement Zone the centerpiece of his administration. The initiative got a great deal of attention: in 2008, the zone was named one of the top innovations in government by Harvard University, and was nominated for the Broad Education Prize.
Crew left the position in September 2008 and the failure of the program is a huge disappointment–detractors say the money should have been spent on “programs that have proven results.”
Report: Costly Plan Failed to Improve Schools [Miami Herald, 5/14/09]
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