Sunday, July 12, 2009

Stabilization and federal frustration

Politics K-12 reports Administration frustration that states aren't funding ambitious new reforms with the fiscal stabilization money (here).

What do the feds think states should do? Every penny of the education share of the stabilization money must be handed out, by formula, to school districts and public higher education. Not a nickel of it can be used as an incentive that districts receive if they make changes and not if they don't. Not a dime can be kept by state agencies for reform activities. (Earlier post with details here.)

The feds do have some leverage themselves. When governors apply for the money, they have to commit to:
  • Equity in teacher distribution
  • Improved collection and use of data
  • Higher quality academic assessments
  • Sound assessments and accommodations for students with disabilities and limited English proficient students.
  • Improved academic standards
  • Support for struggling schools
If USED isn't satisfied with states' past or planned efforts on those issues, it should not send the money until it believes the state's commitment. If USED isn't satisfied with states' work on other issues, they're entitled to our respectful consideration of their suggestions...and nothing more.

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