Can anybody spell “s-c-a-n-d-a-l?”
Perhaps not, if they are a product of what the Washington Post called “the nation’s worst schools,” into which the Obama administration reportedly “pumped billions of federal dollars” with no discernable improvement.
According to the WaPo, “Test scores, graduation rates and college enrollment were no different in schools that received money through the School Improvement Grants program — the largest federal investment ever targeted to failing schools — than in schools that did not.”
And just like the Obama administration, “The Education Department published the findings on the website of its research division…hours before President Obama’s political appointees walked out the door,” the newspaper said. The report was published one day before Donald Trump replaced Barack Obama as president.
The story quoted Andy Smarick, resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, who matter-of-factly said this: “We’re talking about millions of kids who are assigned to these failing schools, and we just spent several billion dollars promising them things were going to get better. Think of what all that money could have been spent on instead.”
Now that he mentioned it, there was something else the Obama administration did with a boatload of money as it headed out the door. According to Fox News, former Secretary of State John Kerry decided to hand over $221 million to the Palestinians just before he left office.
Congressional Republicans objected to the payment and now the State Department will review that decision.
Back to the school issue, the WaPo story said the School Improvement Grants program had existed since the George W. Bush administration, but under Obama, $7 billion was “funneled…into the program between 2010 and 2015.”
Now, here’s the punch line:
“The money went to states to distribute to their poorest-performing schools — those with exceedingly low graduation rates, or poor math and reading test scores, or both,” the newspaper reported. “Individual schools could receive up to $2 million per year for three years, on the condition that they adopt one of the Obama administration’s four preferred measures: replacing the principal and at least half the teachers, converting into a charter school, closing altogether, or undergoing a “transformation,” including hiring a new principal and adopting new instructional strategies, new teacher evaluations and a longer school day.
“The Education Department did not track how the money was spent, other than to note which of the four strategies schools chose,” the story said.
Interestingly, all of this is being revealed as American taxpayers are receiving W-2 forms and other tax-related information from banks and other institutions as they prepare to pay their taxes, due by April 15.