The Center on Education Policy (CEP) published a July report, "What Impact Did Education Stimulus Funds Have on States and School Districts?" which will initiate a SCEE series of blogs focusing on finance and its role in K-12 public education.
The report looks concisely at the effects of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) and finds that this stimulus package helped to dull effects of budget cuts in K-12 education that many were faced with in school districts and states. One effect specifically is the saving or creation of many K-12 and other education-related jobs.
On top of creating/saving jobs, ARRA has helped to promote states to implement a common reform agenda; one based on the four ARRA-receipt assurances that must be met: (1) adopting rigorous standards and assessments, (2) implementing statewide student data systems, (3) enhancing teacher effectiveness and (4) improving low-performing schools.
Another significant conclusion is that many of the benefits (including those previously mentioned) have not been extended to SEAs, despite their crucial role in implementing common reform agendas.
While K-12 budget cuts are on the mend, the same cannot be said for SEA budget which, in all except for 4 states interviewed by the CEP, are expected to experience decreases in FY2012, which has impacted the amount and persistence of SEA employment? positions. These findings point to a lower SEA capacity to maintain a crucial role with ARRA reforms.
Even though some reforms related to ARRA requirements have yet to be implemented-for example, creating benchmarked standards and assessments and establishing statewide longitudinal data systems--the majority of states do credit ARRA for motivating them to continue progressing through these reforms.
You can read the full report and its findings here.
Rentner, Diane Stark and Alexandra Usher. (July, 2012). What impact did education stimulus funds have on states and school districts? Center on Education Policy. Retrieved from http://www.cep-dc.org/displayDocument.cfm?DocumentID=407