Rules Issued for State Fiscal Stabilization Aid, Round 2
The U.S. Department of Education last week issued a detailed list of data and information that states will need to submit if they want to get a piece of the second and final round of State Fiscal Stabilization Fund money—$11.5 billion this time—under the federal economic-stimulus program.
The last round of funding is part of the nearly $48.6 billion fund created under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to help state budgets weather the economic downturn. The final installment will be distributed in coming months.
To qualify for that money, states will need to meet a total of 35 reporting requirements, according to the applications released Nov. 12. Eight of the criteria can be addressed using already existing data.
The criteria address the four “assurances” that Congress wanted states to work on as a condition of getting stimulus money, including teacher quality and distribution, standards and assessments, state data systems, and turning around low-performing schools.
Teachers and Turnarounds
This time around, the Education Department is seeking some additional specifics on teachers and teacher evaluation, including whether evaluation systems take into account student-achievement outcomes or student-growth data. Officials also want to know about systems used to evaluate and promote principals and determine their compensation.
The teacher requirements also ask states to specify the number and percentage of core academic courses taught, in the highest-poverty and lowest-poverty schools, by teachers who are considered “highly qualified.”
The turnaround section has the most requirements—13. Several deal with charter schools, including the number of charters states have operating and the number and identity of charters that have closed in the last five years.
Building on the emphasis on high school reform in the Obama administration’s education agenda, the department wants to know from states seeking state stabilization dollars just how many secondary schools are eligible for—but don’t get—Title I money and have persistently low student achievement.
The department is also seeking information related to high school outcomes, including the number and percentage of graduates who enroll in an institution of higher education within 16 months of receiving their diploma.
Vol. 29, Issue 12, Page 17