Frequently Asked Questions : The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act - 21st Century Learning Solutions
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) provides approximately $100 billion for education, creating a historic opportunity to save hundreds of thousands of jobs, support states and school districts, and advance reforms and improvements that will create long-lasting results for our students and our nation including early learning, K-12, and post-secondary education. ARRA identifies four core reforms that will enable the nation's schools to improve student achievement and close the achievement gap: (1) adopting rigorous college- and career-ready standards and high-quality assessments; (2) establishing data systems and using data for improvement; (3) increasing teacher effectiveness and equitable distribution of effective teachers; and (4) turning around the lowest-performing schools. Below, you'll find quick answers to common questions about the education portions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).
This information will be expanded in the coming weeks as new information is released. We recommend checking back for more information.
Selected ARRA Education and Early Childhood Program Information:
- The Department of Education ARRA website
- The Department of Education ARRA Fact Sheet
- The Department of Education Slideshow Presentation on ARRA
- The Department of Education's examples of how best to spend ARRA funds
- The Department of Education Title I, Part A
- USED Fact Sheet
- Non-Regulatory Guidance on Title I, Part A Waiver
- Scholastic's ARRA Title 1, Part A Fact Sheet
- ARRA IDEA, Part B
- ARRA Early Childhood Programs
- USED Fact Sheet
- Guidance (PDF)
- Scholastic's ARRA Early Childhood Fact Sheet
(includes: ARRA IDEA, Part B Preschool Grants; IDEA, Part C Infants and Families Grants; Child Care Development Block Grant; Head Start and Early Head Start)
- Title I School Improvement Grants
- State Educational Technology Grants
- Race to the Top
- Investing in Innovation
- The Department of Education State Fiscal Stabilization Fund
- Fast Facts about ARRA from Scholastic
How is the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act helping schools?
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) includes more than $100 billion in additional federal funding for preK-12 education and early childhood programs. These funds will be distributed to school districts nationwide as one of the largest increases in education funding in history. The funds allocated for economically disadvantaged students through Title I and special education students through IDEA in the Act more than double the existing funding provided to those students.
What are the Guidelines for Spending ARRA education funds?
- Drive results for students. Will the proposed use of funds drive improved results for students, including students in poverty, students with disabilities, and English language learners?
- Increase capacity. Will the proposed use of funds increase educatorsí long-term capacity to improve results for students?
- Accelerate reform. Will the proposed use of funds advance state, district, or school improvement plans and the reform goals encompassed in ARRA?
- Avoid the cliff and improve productivity. Will the proposed use of funds avoid recurring costs that states, school systems, and schools are unprepared to assume when this funding ends? Given these economic times, will the proposed use serve as ìbridge fundingî to help transition to more effective and efficient approaches?
- Foster continuous improvement. Will the proposed use of funds include approaches to measure and track implementation and results and create feedback loops to modify or discontinue strategies based on evidence?
What are ARRA's education priorities?
- Adopting rigorous college- and career-ready standards and high-quality assessments
- Establishing data systems and using data for improvement
- Increasing teacher effectiveness and equitable distribution of effective teachers
- Turning around the lowest-performing schools
- Improving results for all students, including early learning, extended learning time, use of technology, preparation for college, and school modernization.
What are some examples of how schools and districts should spend ARRA funds to meet ARRA's education priorities?
Adopting rigorous standards and high-quality assessments
- Develop or adopt formative and interim assessments that are valid and reliable for all students, especially students with disabilities and English language learners, and that provide timely data to help educators track and improve student progress. If assessments are technology based, train teachers in how to use this technology.
Establishing data systems and using data for improvement
- Train principals, teachers, guidance counselors, and other staff to use data to identify the specific help students need to succeed, to adjust classroom instruction to better address student strengths and weaknesses, and to target professional development and other resources on student and teacher needs.
Increasing teacher effectiveness and equitable distribution of effective teachers
- Redesign teacher professional development and school schedules to ensure that teacher learning opportunities are sustained, job-embedded, collaborative, data-driven, and focused on student instructional needs. Help teachers master relevant content knowledge, especially for middle and high school teachers in hard-to-staff subject areas, such as math and science. Provide intense professional development over two years and additional training to highly effective teachers who will be able to serve as expert instructional leaders and coaches in the future.
- Train school staff to partner with families to improve student learning, including helping staff clearly communicate about school programs and individual student progress and fostering involvement in school activities and decision making. Support home visits, family nights, and parent training that help families make informed decisions about their children's academic program, request needed services, assist with homework, and support learning in other ways.
Turning around the lowest-performing schools
- Add time to the school day and year and redesign the school schedule to increase time for core academics, enrichment, and staff collaboration.
- Launch a comprehensive literacy program. In an elementary school, purchase a new reading curriculum that focuses on improving students' oral language competence and academic vocabulary so as to improve comprehension and address the fourth-grade reading drop off. Provide an intensive two-year training program for all teachers and the principal. In a secondary school, train staff and purchase materials for a literacy program that identifies studentsí needs, supports literacy development across content areas, and provides interventions for struggling students.
Improving results for all students
- Strengthen early learning. Align a district preschool program with state early learning guidelines and K 3 standards and support credentialing and intensive training for staff working with high poverty children and families.
- Extend learning time for students. Expand after-school and summer learning programs for two years in conjunction with existing community providers to provide more time for learning, including one-on-one and small group instruction, opportunities for service, internships, the arts, and other activities that both enrich the curriculum and address the specific needs of low-performing students.
- Use technology to improve teaching and learning. Purchase and train teachers to use instructional software, technology-enabled white boards, and other interactive technologies that have been shown to be effective aids for instruction, particularly for English language learners, students with disabilities, and both struggling and advanced learners. Use open education resources or purchase high-quality online courseware in core high school content areas.
What are some of the specific areas of funding to which schools and districts will have access?
Among other areas, pre-K-12 schools and districts will have access to funding from Education for the Disadvantaged (Title I), Special Education (IDEA), School Improvement Funding and State Education Technology Grants. Funding for Early Childhood Programs will flow to schools, Head Start programs, states and localities. For more information, please visit the Department of Education ARRA education Fact Sheet.
How is the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act helping my state?
The Department of Education has posted guidelines for several categories of ARRA education funding in states and districts nationwide. Find more information on USED state-level allocations and Scholastic's state-level selected FY09 and ARRA education and early childhood allocations.
When will ARRA education funds be distributed?ARRA education funds began to flow to states on April 1, 2009. Funding categories have different timetables. Refer to Scholastic's ARRA Fact Sheets under Selected ARRA Education and Early Childhood Information.
How can Scholastic help?
As a partner to America's public schools for almost 90 years, Scholastic recognizes that strategic investment in proven solutions in education is good for schools and good for the country. Raising standards, increasing rigor and incorporating 21st century skills into instruction have become a strategic imperative for the country and a moral imperative for our kids.
Effective and efficient use of funds is a shared responsibility. We believe we have an important role to play in ensuring that this two-year increase in federal resources results in a permanent investment in our students' futures. Our goal is to partner with schools and districts to deliver sustainable improvement in student achievement, based on Scholastic's core set of principles:
- Innovation: Proven Programs for Meeting 21st Century Challenges
- Sustainability: One-Time Investment for Long-Term Results
- Capacity Building: Solutions for Improving Teacher Preparedness and Leadership Development
- Individualization: Addressing the Needs of Every School and Child
- Connection: Bridging Home, School and Community
With our long history of supporting the work of schools and teachers around the globe, Scholastic is uniquely prepared to immediately deliver strategic consultation, rapid and efficient implementation of technology and print programs, ongoing training and support, and, most importantly, positive results.
Our goal is your goal: to educate every child to become an active, engaged learner and a valuable contributor to the future growth and prosperity of our country.
Here's an overview of how our solutions align with the funding sources provided for in ARRA.
To find a Scholastic representative who can help you ensure effective and efficient use of these funds, please call 1.800.387.1437x800 or email email@example.com.