To his great credit, Secretary Duncan has spent the last several months imploring the education world to spend stimulus money on reform-oriented projects. He has been explicit that states and districts should not use this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to merely protect jobs. This $100 billion investment must generate meaningful change in the lives of students, he has emphasized, not sustain the status quo.
This week, however, the Vice President's office released a self-congratulatory report highlighting 100 projects that have been funded via the ARRA. Three of them are in the K-12 world (numbers????37, 38, and 45). Every single one touts job protection; not a one references reform.
"For the Alachua County School District, the budget????stabilization portion of the stimulus will be $9.1 million for school years 2009-10 and 2010-11.????Keith Birkett, assistant superintendent for planning and budget, said all that money will be spent????on teachers."
"Recovery Act funds are saving 139 teaching jobs in Seminole County,????Florida."
"Colquitt County School Board [Georgia] approved Monday new instructional positions that will be funded through the recently enacted federal stimulus program. The grants are expected to fund 12 positions within the school system."
Did ED not get to read the report before it...