Missouri is getting federal money for a fifth year in a row to finance firm actions designed to get more failing schools up to snuff. 

Fourteen schools where students do poorly on state tests  will get special attention because of the federal education department grants, which total $7.5 million.   The program is for improving learning in individual school buildings.  

Deputy commissioner Margie Vanduven with the state education department  says failure is not the only criteria for the program.  Schools that are targeted have “the greatest need but also the greatest capacity for implementing change.”

Once the schools with the greatest capacity for change are chosen, the schools have to agree to the principles behind the grant. Eight of the schools are in St. Louis, four are in Riverview Gardens, one in Kansas City—all districts that are unaccredited–and one in Columbia.

Each school will have to assess its greatest needs, decide if the principal is a good enough leader to head up the change efforts, and how its teachers can get better results in the classrooms, then implement the plan for the next three years. 

The first 30 schools to be in the program has finished their three-year cycle. The results are being evaluated now.  Vanduven says the reuslts seem to be mixed.

AUDIO: Vanduven interview 8:59