Evaluating the stimulus legacy
Two years and one hundred billion dollars later, what impact did the big federal stimulus package have on education reform? According to a recent Hechinger-led analysis: not much. Yes, the stimulus funds slowed teacher firings and kept short-term school budgets level, but we’re already seeing (thanks to the “funding cliff”) that they merely delayed the inevitable. Furthermore, skeptics are increasingly calling Race to the Top’s long-term efficacy into question. Nineteen districts, for instance, have already dropped out of the program in Massachusetts and the lure of the Bay State’s $250 million in Race to the Top winnings isn’t keeping the state’s teacher unions from pushing back against the use of student test scores in evaluating their members. In Maryland, political and policy hang-ups have stalled implementation of the state’s promised legislation tying 50 percent of teacher evaluations to student performance. In other words, even in winning states, the big policy victories that reformers scored last winter and spring are seeping away.
“Impact of education stimulus far from certain,” by Michele McNeil, Hechinger Report, February 12, 2011.
“How many jobs did the education stimulus save?,” by Michele McNeil, Hechinger Report, February 12, 2011.
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