Translating the Stimulus for Teachers - History Research Journal

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Monday, April 20, 2020

Translating the Stimulus for Teachers

There's been a lot of talk about stimulus funds are starting to roll out this month, but what does that actually mean to you?

Your frozen budget might be thawing... and then flooding. Here are a few things you should know about the stimulus.

Stabilization
One lump of the stimulus money is allocated to Stabilization. States and districts can use that money to save jobs, fill funding gaps in the budget and potentially pay for construction projects and school modernization (computers, networks, getting broadband, etc.).

Teacher Translation: Hopefully, this money means jobs will be saved, at least for the next two years. Your school might also get a 21st century spruce up too.

Accountability/Tracking
Administrators will be expected to account for how stimulus spending fits ARRA criteria and improves student achievement.

The money is going out in two rounds. In order to get the second round of funding, states/districts have to PROVE the money is making a difference.

Teacher Translation: Any school purchases or requests you make should explain how it applies to the following stimulus criteria, be backed up with research that shows its effective OR you should explain how YOU will track its effectiveness in producing student achievement.

ALSO Teacher effectiveness evaluations will now be reported to the federal government and it will have to reflect students achievement. This will likely mean that schools and districts will have a lot of pressure to streamline the evaluation process. Be on your toes!

Title 1
Title 1 funds can be used for just about anything. Focus will likely be on

Teacher Translation: If you work at a Title 1 school, don't let your principal tell you there isn't money for what you want. Just use the stimulus buzz words to make your case. Got ideas for big change? Pitch 'em now.

Special Education
Funds can be used to obtain assistive technology, provide tech training & SPED Professional Development for all teachers, and improve data-driven strategies in the field.

Teacher Translation: It's all about professional development here. You don't have to be a SPED teacher to learn how to better teach students with disabilities. With inclusion being the new trend, all teachers need SPED training.

Hopefully, there will be new ways to make IEPs less of a pain. Cross our fingers!

Ed TechnologyFunds can buy Ed Tech hardware, curriculum-enhancing software, Ed Tech professional development, distance learning technology and data analysis systems.

Teacher Translation: Now's the time to get your interactive whiteboards, computers for the classroom, and curriculum software AND sign up for workshops and courses in Ed Tech.

Innovation“If you're just filling gaps, filling holes, that will disqualify you from other dollars,” Arne Duncan said.

Teacher Translation: In pure Obama fashion, the goal of this stimulus is change. Will this change take place? Hard to say, but it's your chance to get those big changes you want done.

"Race to the Top" Grants
In 2010, $4.35 billion in grants will be awarded to states and districts available who effectively used stimulus funds to:
  • Create college and career-ready standards and assessments
  • Implement comprehensive data systems
  • Increase the distribution of quality teachers and overall improvements toward teacher effectiveness
  • Improve the state's low-performing schools
Teacher Translation: This probably won't affect your day-to-day too much, but it's good to know. Odds are, district administrators will be answering to the state on these directives over the next two years, so these words will be ringing in your ears.
The When - Stimulus Time Table
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