Education Reform in the Coming Years: What Can We Expect?

As a parent, have you wondered what objectives President Obama’s administration will have relative education reform?

Think:

  • Educational standards
  • Measuring student progress
  • Recruiting, rewarding, and developing teachers
  • Improving low performing schools

Did you know that the “Stimulus Package” lays out some areas of focus for education and that it includes efforts to advance education reform as well?  This should give us some glimpse into what the administration’s objectives will be over the next several years.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 was signed by President Obama on 2/17/09.   It includes measures to “jump start” our economy, but it also includes something called the Race to the Top fund.

The Race to the Top Fund offers states over $4 billion in funding and seeks to advance improvements in the following four areas:

  • “Adoption of standards and assessments that prepare students to succeed in college and the workplace and to compete in the global economy;”
  • “Building data systems that measure student growth and success, and inform teachers and principals about how they can improve instruction;”
  • “Recruiting, developing, rewarding, and retaining effective teachers and principals, especially where they are needed most;”
  • “Turning around our lowest-achieving schools.”

So…

  1. Adoption of education standards
  2. Development of data systems that effectively measure student progress
  3. Recruiting, rewarding, and developing teachers
  4. Improving lowest achieving schools

…are the areas of focus.

States must compete for funds to support programs they are planning or are already implementing relative to these four areas.  The idea is that states that are leading the way in these areas of education reform will receive additional money to support their programs.  Other states will then have additional examples to which to look in order to come up with ideas of their own that might be successful.

State must apply for Phase 1 of this funding by Jan. 19, 2010 and winners will be announced in April 2010.  Phase 2 applications are due June 1, 2010 and those winners will be announced in September of 2010.

Earlier in 2009, states were awarded a one-time infusion of funds to help avoid reductions in teachers and other education-related positions. The State Fiscal Stabilization Fund (SFSF) offered approximately $48 billion to states under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.  Fifty-one states and/or territories were awarded funds.  To see the press releases for each of these state awards, click here.

To see your state’s actual application and to find out more about what your state is planning to do, click here or visit your state’s department of education website.

Approved funding under the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund (Ed.gov Blog):

  • $656 million for Alabama,
  • $76 million for Alaska,
  • $681 million for Arizona,
  • $297 million for Arkansas,
  • $4 billion for California,
  • $509 million for Colorado,
  • $363 million for Connecticut,
  • $74 million for Delaware,
  • $1.8 billion for Florida,
  • $1 billion for Georgia,
  • $129 million for Hawaii,
  • $165 million for Idaho,
  • $1.4 billion for Illinois,
  • $765 million for Indiana,
  • $316 million for Iowa,
  • $301 million for Kansas,
  • $357 million for Kentucky,
  • $388 million for Louisiana,
  • $130 million for Maine,
  • $589 million for Maryland,
  • $666 million for Massachusetts,
  • $1 billion for Michigan,
  • $547 million for Minnesota,
  • $321 million for Mississippi,
  • $505 million for Missouri,
  • $81 million for Montana,
  • $191 million for Nebraska
  • $266 million for Nevada,
  • $134 million for New Hampshire,
  • $891 million for New Jersey,
  • $213 million for New Mexico,
  • $2 billion for New York,
  • $1 billion for North Carolina,
  • $70 million for North Dakota,
  • $1 billion for Ohio,
  • $317 million for Oklahoma,
  • $382 million for Oregon,
  • $434 million for Puerto Rico,
  • $111 million for Rhode Island,
  • $625 million for South Carolina,
  • $85.4 million for South Dakota,
  • $635 million for Tennessee,
  • $2 billion for Texas,
  • $321 million for Utah,
  • $806 million for Virginia,
  • $52 million for Vermont,
  • $672 million for Washington,
  • $60 million for Washington, D.C.,
  • $178.5 million for West Virginia,
  • $587 million for Wisconsin and
  • $45 million for Wyoming

You may want to:

  • Ask your state officials what they are specifically planning to do
  • Ask your school’s principal about what impact these plans will have on your child’s school
  • Find out if there are any programs for which your child can qualify and see if you can take advantage of it

Visit your state and local websites for more information, then GET INVOLVED…IT ALWAYS PAYS TO PARTICIPATE.

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