Stimulus Sets Stiff Management Challenge
Accountability, efficiency will need to be balanced in dispensing federal aid
The $787 billion economic-stimulus bill that President Barack Obama signed into law last week presents an unprecedented opportunity—and an unprecedented management challenge—for new U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.
Cash-strapped states, districts, and schools are eager for their shares of federal support under the measure, which includes some $115 billion in pre-collegiate and higher education aid. That sum includes substantial increases for Title I grants to help disadvantaged students, an increase in special education money, and a nearly $54 billion fund to help make up for dramatic cuts in state-level support to schools.
Secretary Duncan—who has not yet filled top political jobs at the Department of Education, including a deputy secretary and an undersecretary—will have to make sure all that money is sent to states, and in turn, to districts, in a timely fashion. Aides to Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives say they hope a sizable chunk will make its way to...
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