Healthcare Innovation Plan a Possible Model for SIG?

The week after Thanksgiving my team will be releasing a report to help guide state policy makers as they give out the next round of School Improvement Grant funding to districts and schools.  Stay tuned for that report, I’m pretty excited about it!

Along those lines, I’m always on the lookout for smart policy ideas from other sectors that might have relevance for education policy, particularly around persistently low-performing schools.  While the federal School Improvement Grant program is a great lever for reform, it does have a couple of elements in serious need of improvement.  Most notably, the notorious “four models” have been criticized as too prescriptive.  Also, as I’ve mentioned on this blog before, the program focuses too heavily on inputs as opposed to student outcomes.  Enter Senators Wyden and Brown with an interesting bipartisan proposal for healthcare coverage innovation, which builds off of last year’s healthcare reform:

“The legislation would allow states to develop their own health-care reform proposals that would preempt the federal government’s effort. If a state can think of a plan that covers as many people, with as comprehensive insurance, at as low a cost, without adding to the deficit, the state can get the money the federal government would’ve given it for health-care reform …”

Now, healthcare and education – though they share some similar features – are different animals.  That said, I think this is an interesting model for intervention in persistently low-performing schools.  The federal government provides resources and intervention guidelines.  If a state thinks it can do better, it would have the burden of delivering better student outcomes for a similar number of affected schools and/or children, with its own intervention model or models.  The devil obviously is in the details,* but I’m increasingly of the opinion that this is an interesting way to go on the SIG program.  It mitigates the criticism about prescriptiveness, while shifting to a focus on outcomes.

*Settling on a student achievement growth measure and an accountability framework would be really challenging, for example.  Not to mention what would happen if outcomes didn’t improve …

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One Response to Healthcare Innovation Plan a Possible Model for SIG?

  1. Pingback: You Want Ideas? We Have Ideas! « Cooperative Catalyst

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