Coming on the heels of the state's unprecedented budget crisis, the federal stimulus—also known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA)—first received attention in California as a source of extra, much needed funding for schools.
In the months since, it has become increasingly clear that the reforms it embodies could have a bigger and more lasting impact than the nearly $8 billion it is providing to public K–12 education in the state.
The education components of the federal stimulus place a strong emphasis on four reform areas:
- Teacher and administrator effectiveness
- Data systems
- Turning around low-performing schools
This is also seen as an indication of the direction the Obama administration will take on the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (currently known as NCLB), which drives states' education policies in several areas and governs the distribution of substantial funding.
Furthermore, competing for additional stimulus funds could require California to make substantial changes to its current policies to meet the requirements laid down by the federal government.
This 20-page report provides an overview of the stimulus and where California stands in relation to the requirements. It also looks at the thinking behind the four reform areas, the metrics used to measure progress on them, and the state's initial efforts to address these new federal expectations.
The report concludes with a discussion, featuring the opinions of some leaders in Sacramento and Washington, of the short- and long-term implications for California.
EdSource thanks the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, whose core support enabled the development and dissemination of this report.