U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan said during a Friday visit to Hillside High School that she has introduced legislation to reward schools that make significant progress to close the achievement gap.
The School Turnaround and Rewards Act would create a competitive grant program for the lowest-performing 5 percent of schools. States would receive funds to implement an intervention model, which must ensure significant changes to the structure and operation of the school.
“We do not have to accept continued failure in our schools, and the STAR Act will equip our lowest-performing schools and districts with the tools they need to turn around and get our students on the right track," Hagan said in a statement.
The bill also would reward schools that are making significant progress in closing their achievement gap. States would compete for federal funding to design innovative programs to reward high-poverty schools and districts that have successfully reached their targets on increasing performance for all students.
“It’s time to stop punishing schools and start rewarding them for the progress they’re making," Hagan said. "Hillside High School serves as a model for turning around a once-struggling school, and my legislation will help build on and replicate this progress at schools and districts across our state and around the country."
Hillside High was one of 17 schools that received School Improvement Grants in 2011. Composite achievement scores increased by 21 percent from 2010 to 2011, student suspension rates decreased and attendance rates increased.