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Realigning Resources for District Transformation: Using American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Funds to Advance a Strategic Education Reform Agenda

Published: April 2009

Publisher(s): Center for American Progress; Education Resource Strategies

Funder(s): Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Related Organization(s): Education Resource Strategies

View Report (20 pages; 467KB; PDF)

Realigning Resources for District Transformation: Using American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Funds to Advance a Strategic Education Reform Agenda

Area of focus: Education Stimulus - General

Abstract

In response to American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding, this report provides concrete ideas for strategic spending in three key areas—taking stock of current practices, focusing on support for quality instruction, and making transitional investments—for school districts seeking to balance the ARRA’s short-term focus on preserving jobs with its long-term goals of promoting student achievement.

Key Findings and/or Recommendations

= Districts can use one-time funds to contract the personnel necessary to use existing data to help distinguish between effective and ineffective uses of resources.

= One-time funds offer a chance to experiment with the parameters of a more dynamic approach to sizing classes, such as combining larger class sizes with strategies for creating small flexible groups and individual tutoring based on ongoing assessment of student needs.

= High-quality induction combined with ongoing access to expertise around improving instruction can improve retention of effective teachers. One-time funds might allow districts to build the necessary professional development capacity.

= Stimulus funds can be used to support collaboration between teachers and leaders to develop new approaches, tailor ones developed elsewhere to local service, and ensure that local data systems and reporting capability can support a more strategic approach to teacher compensation.

= Stimulus funds could be used to implement a sturdy evaluation system that provides states and districts with a fundamental tool to ensure students’ access to effective teachers.

Geographic Focus: National

Subjects/Keywords: ARRA funds; teacher quality; accountability; low-performing schools; leadership; school reform; improving student achievement; evaluation systems; teacher effectiveness; standards and assessments; data systems

+ Successful strategy
= Observation
Challenge

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