“Data Flub” Could Cost Needy Vermont Schools Thousands in Federal Dollars

“Data Flub” Could Cost Needy Vermont Schools Thousands in Federal Dollars

February 10, 2019

According to a former top Vermont Agency Education official, Vermont “risks running afoul of federal law if it doles out over $2 million in school improvement dollars the way it intends,” Lola Duffort reports for VTDigger.com. The “agency has had problems rolling out a new data collection system, which has created a series of downstream problems,” including an inability to deliver “school-by-school results from this spring’s math and English testing.” This has been problematic “for identifying the schools that need the most help—and that are entitled to extra federal funds.” Vermont officials have decided “to make the funds available to all Title I schools in Vermont, which would effectively spread the dollars out over more than 200 schools.” But former Deputy Secretary of Education Amy Fowler claims that’s “precisely what Congress didn’t want states to do” under ESSA., This seeks to encourage “states to concentrate federal school improvement dollars in the districts that struggled the most.” That’s why Vermont is supposed “to identify ‘comprehensive’ and ‘equity’ schools—the 5 percent of schools that need the most help, based in part on test scores.”