Friday, April 10, 2009

Spending Priorities

The U.S. Department of Education has outlined ways school districts should use their shares of the federal stimulus package, which could provide up to $100 billion for K-12 education over two years. The main chunks of money flowing to districts come from several pots, and many of the suggestions below can be funded through multiple sources.

Title I
• Identify and use effective teachers as coaches and mentors.
• Create summer programs for algebra and other college-prep courses.
• Partner with colleges and nonprofit groups to create early-college programs.
• Close low-performing schools and reopen them with new staffs, new programs, and additional learning time.

State Fiscal Stabilization Fund
• Create new, fair, reliable teacher-evaluation systems based on objective measures of student progress and multiple classroom observations.
• Train educators to use data to improve instruction.
• Purchase instructional software, digital whiteboards, and other interactive technologies and train teachers in how to use them.

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
• Offer training and dual certification for teachers of English-language learners and students in special education.
• Implement online individualized education programs (IEPs) aligned with state academic standards.
• Hire transition coaches to help graduating high school seniors find employment or get postsecondary training.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education

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