Building a Solid Foundation

Source: Sara Mead, New America Foundation, May 2009

In April, the states and school districts began receiving the first installment of more than $48 billion in federal economic stimulus funds for education and child care appropriated under the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA). This unprecedented federal investment in education–from early childhood through college–is a tremendous opportunity for state and local investments to improve our nation’s schools. The danger is that states and school districts may squander these funds on ill-conceived projects or use them simply to maintain the status quo. It is critical that the states and school districts make wise decisions about how to spend the stimulus funds, using them not only to maintain educational services and jobs during the current economic downturn but also to institute lasting reforms that will yield ongoing gains in student learning and help fuel America’s long-term economic growth.

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