Under the Dome

Hagan promotes turnaround strategy for schools

U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan is in Durham today to promote a model to reward schools that manage to turn around a low performance track record.

The Greensboro Democrat visits Hillside High School to announce the School Turnaround and Rewards Act, or STAR Act. The act would allow high-poverty schools to compete for federal funding to design innovative programs aimed at improving student performance.

By rewarding low-performing schools that lift their performance and work to close achievement gaps, Hagan argues, the proposed law would take the opposite approach of Bush-era No Child Left Behind, which took a punitive stance.

The STAR Act would codify the policies embedded in the Race to the Top competitive grant program in the U.S. Department of Education. In 2011, 17 North Carolina schools won School Improvement Grants through the federal government, including Hillside High, which received $4.7 million and has been a successful example of turnaround.

The STAR Act would be incorporated into the federal legislation that guides public schools, which is overdue for reauthorization. It's unclear what kind of chances it has this year.

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