Rep. Fattah Announces $141 Million to Pennsylvania to Turn Around Low-Achieving Schools; Philadelphia in Line for Tens of Millions

Jun 09, 2010, 17:52 ET from Office of Congressman Chaka Fattah

WASHINGTON, June 9 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Congressman Chaka Fattah (D-PA), a leading Congressional advocate for reform in urban education, announced today that the U.S. Department of Education is awarding $141 million to the State of Pennsylvania – much of it bound for Philadelphia -- to turn around persistently lowest achieving schools.

School districts can now apply to the Pennsylvania Department of Education on behalf of their eligible schools, those identified in the state's application as the lowest performing. Two thirds of the highest-priority schools statewide – 62 out of 93 -- are in Philadelphia.

The $141,090,171 School Improvement Grant (SIG) to Pennsylvania under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was released today by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

"I have long advocated and worked for significant federal resources directed toward troubled schools," Fattah said. "Our schools will have an opportunity to turn around and go from low-achieving status to achievement at the highest level."

Fattah said today's grant is proof that the Obama Administration is itself turning around years of flawed education policies.

"For years we saw the Bush Administration throwing around labels like 'in need of improvement' and 'corrective action' without any efforts to actually improve the education that children were receiving," Fattah said.

"With this significant investment we are seeing the Obama Administration's commitment to get beyond just identifying failure," Fattah said. "The President and Secretary Duncan know the potential of the children of Philadelphia and they're going to help our teachers and school leaders see that potential converted into achievement."

Education Secretary Duncan said he expects funds to move quickly from the state to those school districts that have applied and meet the eligibility standard.

"When a school continues to perform in the bottom five percent of the state and isn't showing signs of growth or has graduation rates below 60 percent, something dramatic needs to be done," said Duncan. "Turning around our worst performing schools is difficult for everyone but it is critical that we show the courage to do the right thing by kids."

SOURCE Office of Congressman Chaka Fattah