Stimulus Bill Offers Rewards for School Progress

This piece from the Associated Press highlights President Obama’s hopes for a larger federal role in education. Obama and Duncan’s vision centers on better teacher training and data systems to track student achievement. The bill includes a $5 billion fund to reward states and school districts that demonstrate notable improvement in boosting teacher effectiveness and recruitment in hard-to-staff schools; setting up data systems to track student achievement; improving academic standards and tests; and supporting struggling schools. Duncan is no stranger to massive school reform, and parties are watching closely to see which of the controversial initiatives used to reform Chicago Public Schools will be included in the fund. One contentious piece is performance pay for teachers – an idea traditionally opposed by teachers but recently increasing in favor.

SMHC provides states and districts with a framework for addressing complex human capital issues. For urban districts in particular, the findings of the SMHC Case Studies offer integrated suggestions in the areas of teacher and principal recruitment, development, retention, and pay. Hopefully states and districts will draw from the SMHC framework and the SMHC Case Studies as they craft comprehensives plans as part of their proposals to secure stimulus funding.

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