ED releases ARRA grant applications, more to come

The Education Department July 24 released draft language for its $4.35 billion centerpiece education reform grant program, among others; and announced its plans to soon follow up with guidance and applications for the remaining federal grants under the FY 2009 and American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds.
The language in the programs’ guidance and applications establish the expectations and parameters in which the education community, including CTE, must adhere to in order to compete for the unprecedented amount of funding the Obama Administration is injecting into the education system over the next several years. Stakeholders speculate that the language will reflect a framework for the Obama Administration’s plans for the reauthorization of the No Child left Behind Act.
President Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced the draft application for the Race to the Top Fund via a live Web cast today. The public has 30 days to comment on the fund’s proposed priorities, requirements, definitions, and selection criteria. ED plans to offer grants in two phases. Phase one will open late in calendar year 2009. Phase two will open in late spring 2010.
ED also released applications for the $315 million from the Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems program, which would fund states that expand data systems to track students’ achievement from pre-K through postsecondary and link their achievement to teachers and principals. Applications for these funds are being posted today.
Finally, ED also published proposed requirements, definitions, and approval criteria for Phase two of the $48 billion State Fiscal Stabilization Fund, which permits states to apply funding to some education-related use. Phase two provides access to $12 billion, the remaining amount offered to states after phase one. The public has 30 days to comment on the proposal.
In coming weeks, ED said it will publish draft regulations on the:
•$650 million Investing in Innovation Fund, which supports partnerships among school districts and nonprofits to launch or expand research-based innovative programs that help close the achievement gap and improve academic achievement overall.
•$297 million Teacher Incentive Fund, which targets programs in which states and districts create or expand performance pay and teacher advancement models that reward teachers and principals for increases in student achievement and the number of effective educators working with traditionally underperforming students.
•$3.5 billion Title I School Improvement Grants. ED would support states’ efforts in reform efforts implemented in struggling schools and that focus on implementing turnaround models in the lowest-performing schools. Secretary Duncan set a goal of turning around the bottom 5 percent of schools in the next five years.
•$919 million State Educational Technology Grants, which could be used to bring technology equipment into the classroom.
ED will host a Webinar 2 p.m. today to review ARRA programs funded through ED. Public is welcome to participate. Registration is required.

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