Schools and the Stimulus 2011
February 9, 2011
- Federal School Improvement Grant Efforts Face HurdlesStates and districts grapple with turning around schools and making big changes in a tight time frame.Education Funding States Slow to Tap 'Edujobs' FundingFiscal uncertainty has many states hedging as they draw down on the one-time aid available into next school year.Federal Federal Watchdogs Hit Oversight Trail on StimulusGovernment agencies dig into how states and districts are spending a flood of education aid under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.Education Funding Mixed Report Card for Education Stimulus After 2 YearsNearly $100 billion in aid saved jobs and spurred state policy overhauls, but the long-term impact remains to be seen as the recovery act reaches its second anniversary.Federal Innovation Grants Prove Influential Stimulus ToolThe $650 million in competitive aid under the 'i3' program aims to spur experimentation in school reform.School & District Management Consultants in High Demand as ARRA's Clock TicksThe influx of stimulus aid to education is a boon for seasoned advisers in areas such as school turnarounds and Race to the Top.Education Funding Ed. Tech Rides Wave of Stimulus FundingA one-time infusion of cash fueled everything from laptops to enhanced data systems—but sustaining those upgrades could be tough.Federal Few 'i3' Winners Truly 'Rural,' Report SaysAn advocacy group says most winners in the federal innovation grant contest had just enough rural flavor to secure bonus points.Federal Flexibility Eyed for Any Future 'i3' ContestPrivate-sector match requirements would be loosened under proposed rules covering the next generation of innovation contests.Federal Event Aims to Leverage 'i3' Competition MomentumRunners-up in the federal innovation grant contest can pitch philanthropies and businesses at Aspen Institutes' forum.Education Funding Race to Top Winners Get Guidance on Plan AlterationsThe administration outlines what kind of amendments they would accept—and what changes would put awardees' funding at risk.States Recession's Toll on K-12 Budgets Both Wide and DeepStates that never had a boom were hit doubly hard by the national downturn, while others skated by.States Educators Regroup in Recession's AftermathCuts to programs and personnel add stress for states and districts struggling to improve their education systems.Education Funding Report Roundup Report Gives Mixed Review to Federal Stimulus EffortNearly two years after Congress passed the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, a new report attempts to draw lessons from that economic-stimulus effort, which included some $100 billion for education.Education Funding K-12 Funds Caught Up in Federal Budget DramaCash-strapped states and school districts await word as Congress works to complete a fiscal 2011 spending plan.Education Funding Foe of Race to Top Takes to New PulpitTexas Gov. Rick Perry, who once said that the federal Race to the Top competition would undermine "states' authority to determine how their students are educated," has a new platform: chairmanship of the Republican Governors Association.School Climate & Safety Stimulus Supercharges Energy Efficiency EffortsSchools replace outdated, inefficient equipment and find ways to incorporate energy saving lessons into their curricula.School & District Management Stimulus-Aid Bonanza Draws Heat on Campaign TrailRepublicans slam the economic-stimulus package, while some Democrats argue its $100 billion in education aid helped preserve crucial school jobs.Education Funding Deadlines Loom on Districts' Race to Top PlansStates are ramping up the pressure on school districts to show how they will deliver on ambitious education policy changes.Education Funding News in Brief Texas Sues Over Blocked Federal FundsTexas Attorney General Greg Abbott has initiated legal action in an effort to force the U.S. Department of Education to provide the state with $830 million from the federal Education Jobs Fund. Mr. Abbott filed the legal challenge last week, arguing that the department erred when it rejected Texas’ application for federal aid. The federal jobs law included a provision, supported by Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Texas, that was designed to ensure that Texas did not simply use the money to fill holes created by state budget cuts to schools. Gov. Rick Perry, a Republican, supports the legal action, which was filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, in New Orleans. Gov. Perry has argued that he does not have the authority to make promises about funding in future budget years.Education Funding Funders Giving 'i3' Runners-Up Second LookPromising applicants may find favor as the push to fund innovation continues.School & District Management 'i3' Grant Winners All Come Up With Matching FundsDespite some last-minute jitters, all those in line for the high-profile innovation grants secure private matching funds.Education Funding Race to Top Winners, Meeting in D.C., See Challenges AheadOfficials from 11 states and the District of Columbia celebrated at a Washington meeting on the stimulus grants—and say they see challenges ahead.Education Funding Analysis Notes Virtual Ed. Priorities in RTT WinnersThe International Association for K-12 Online Learning outlines the 19 finalists' plans to use online learning to achieve federal Race to the Top goals.Education Funding Tough Work Begins for Race to Top Assessment WinnersWith the $330 million in hand, the two consortia head into the next phase of building multipurpose assessments—and consensus.Education Funding Race to Top Winners Face Data System ChallengesIn some states, key reforms hinge on the effectiveness of data systems that may be in need of significant upgrade.Federal Jobs Money Flowing, but Not SmoothlyTexas saw its $830 million request rejected by the Department of Education, and charter school advocates are dismayed that some may have trouble tapping the $10 billion layoff-prevention fund.Education Funding Race to Top Winners Embed STEM Projects in PlansThe winning states proposed in their applications a variety of ways to improve science, technology, engineering, and math in schools.Education Funding Analysis Notes Virtual Ed. Priorities in RTT WinnersThe International Association for K-12 Online Learning outlines the 19 finalists' plans to use online learning to achieve federal Race to the Top goals.Education Funding N.J. Clings to Agenda Despite Race to Top LossThe state's governor and lawmakers still hope to move forward on priorities outlined in the state's losing bid for $400 million in federal aid.Education Funding Two State Groups Win Federal Grants for Common TestsA third state consortium that applied for a smaller Race to the Top grant to build high school exams failed to garner an award.Education Funding Race to Top Now Faces Acid TestThe nine states and the District of Columbia will share $3.4 billion in Round Two of the federal competition, a cash infusion intended to fuel bold education reforms.Education Funding N.J. Schools Chief Fired Over Race to Top GaffeNew Jersey Gov. Chris Christie fired his appointed education commissioner, Bret Schundler, in the wake of a paperwork gaffe that may have cost the state a $400 million Race to the Top grant.Education Funding Gaffe May Have Sunk N.J.'s Race to Top BidA clerical error cost New Jersey five points—and maybe $400 million—in the close contest for Race to the Top education reform money.Federal States, Districts Mull How to Use $10 Billion in Jobs AidSome use cash to reverse layoffs, while others plan to hold onto the aid as the stimulus "funding cliff" looms.School & District Management ECS Education Forum Spotlights Policy Fault LinesState-level policymakers differ sharply on approaches to the common standards debate and a continued fiscal squeeze.Federal Race to Top Finalists Prepare for Last PitchA share of $3.4 billion in Race to the Top money is at stake as 18 states and the District of Columbia vie for Round 2 grants.Federal $10 Billion to Spare Education Jobs Draws Strong Support in CongressBackers say the aid is crucial in preventing a wave of school job layoffs amid continued state fiscal problems.Law & Courts Senate Passes Edujobs BillThe long-stalled measure would provide $10 billion to prevent thousands of teacher layoffs nationwide.Federal 49 Applicants Win i3 GrantsTeach for America, KIPP, and the Success for All Foundation are to get up to $50 million each in the federal program to spur educational innovation.Education Funding Obama Defends Race to TopThe president told members of the National Urban League that his signature education initiative holds promise for poor and minority students in low-performing schools.Federal Least-Disruptive Turnaround Model Proving PopularEducators in a number of states are opting for "transformation" in deciding how to use their federal School Improvement Grant money.Federal Ariz. Vaults From 40th to Finalist in Race to TopThe cash-strapped state scrambled to pass reform laws and raise its chances of winning a share of $3.4 billion in federal stimulus funds.Federal 18 States, D.C., Named Race to Top Round 2 FinalistsApplicants head to Washington next month to make their case for a share of the $3.4 billion in competitive-grant money under the ARRA.Federal Reformers See Promise in Race to Top MomentumIf the grant program's extension makes it into the final spending bills for fiscal year 2011, advocates say, it could mean more states will take reform-minded steps to secure funding.States Opinion Doing More With Less: A State Checklist for Sustainable School TransformationOnly with information that connects resource use to outcome can states understand the levels and types of investment they will need to reach school improvement goals, write Karen Hawley Miles and Karen Baroody.Federal Report Says Stimulus Spending Staved Off LayoffsEven with the influx of federal dollars, districts' budgets were smaller last year than they were the school year before.School & District Management Turnaround Deadline Squeezes States, DistrictsSome still await federal approval—and money—for plans to overhaul poorly performing schools starting this fall.Federal Stimulus Spending Still Plods AlongEven as states and school districts complain about the slow economic recovery and warn about the prospect for draconian teacher layoffs, billions of economic-stimulus dollars remain in the bank waiting to be spent.School & District Management State Adoptions of Common Standards Steam AheadNearly half the states have already adopted the English and math standards, with little opposition or public fanfare.School & District Management Conservative Candidates Take Aim at Federal K-12 RoleAs the GOP seeks to retake Congress, some hopefuls take sharp aim at the Education Department and the stimulus.Federal Jobs Bill Collides With Obama Education AgendaCongressional efforts to save teacher jobs, in part by cutting Race to the Top, have states and the administration pushing back.School & District Management States, Districts Scramble on Turnaround DeadlineSome still await federal approval—and money—for plans to overhaul poorly performing schools starting this fall.Education Funding Ed. Dept. Opposes Cutting Race to Top to Fund EdujobsNew legislation would cut from the administration’s Race to the Top and performance-pay programs to fund a $10 billion push to save education jobs.Federal Three Groups Apply for Race to Top Test GrantsThe consortia submitted applications to the U.S. Department of Education for money to craft assessments aligned to the common standards.Federal Opinion Too Many Carrots, Too Many SticksThe current federal approach to low-performing schools insults educators, Arthur H. Camins writes, by assuming that they are unable to learn and improve, unmotivated by larger social purpose, and in need of external control to change their behavior.School & District Management Race to Top Buy-In Level ExaminedStates increased the amount of support from local teachers' unions in their applications for the second round of stimulus grants, but made far less progress in enlisting districts or expanding the number of students affected by the education reform plans.Federal States Up Ante on Applications for Race to TopA field of 35 states, plus the District of Columbia, have proposed what they assert are their boldest plans yet in hopes of capturing part of the remaining $3.4 billion in the second, and maybe last, round of the federal education sweepstakes.School & District Management School Turnaround Models Draw Bipartisan ConcernCongressional critics on both sides of the aisle say rules covering School Improvement Grants are inflexible and may hurt rural districts.Federal More Than 1,600 Seeking to Win 'i3' FundingStill competition looms for districts, schools, and nonprofits vying for innovation grants under the economic-stimulus program.Federal Opinion The Buy-In MythDespite conventional wisdom to the contrary, states should favor boldness over buy-in in round two of the Race to the Top competition, Dan Weisberg writes.States Tensions Flare in Race to Top's Second RoundStates and teachers' unions clash over policy changes aimed at securing some of the $3.4 billion in stimulus grants still left.Education Funding Pressure Building for More Aid to Save Education JobsThe education secretary testifies that Congress should act to help states and districts avoid massive layoffs.States Race to Top Enters Home Stretch With 16 FinalistsWhen officials come to Washington to make their pitches for part of $4 billion in grants, most can expect to go home empty-handed.Science Opinion STEM Education: A Race to the TopU.S. Sen. Ted Kaufman, an engineer by training, says it is critical to graduate K-12 students aiming for careers in science, technology, engineering, and math.School & District Management Rural Areas Perceive Policy TiltSome see a policy tilt at the U.S. Department of Education, though federal officials vow to be balanced.