Education Reforms May Earn Pennsylvania Federal Stimulus Funds

Article excerpt

Pennsylvania has a good chance of receiving a share of the $5 billion set aside for education innovations because the state is working on reforms outlined by President Obama, a state official said Wednesday.

Michael Race, spokesman for the Pennsylvania Department of Education, said the Legislature must pass a funding bill before money can be distributed in Pennsylvania. "We don't have the authority to just disburse the money," he said.

States seeking innovation money from the federal stimulus package must commit to improving teacher quality, aligning standardized test standards to national standards, turning around their worst schools and providing more and better data to the federal government, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan said.

Only a "relatively small number of states" will receive a share, he said.

"We will only work with states that commit to all those reforms. This is not a menu. This is not an 'I'll take two out of three or three out of four,'" Duncan said.

Duncan released $44 billion of the $100 billion in stimulus money dedicated to education. That includes $11.4 billion that will be distributed to schools based on formulas that allocate dollars for such programs as those for economically disadvantaged students and students with disabilities. Each state controls when districts get money. …