American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

By Katie O’Neal

As part of the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which President Obama signed just last week, education stands to receive almost $115 billion.  This amount, which is staggering at nearly twice the amount spent on education in fiscal year 2009, reaffirms the administration’s campaign promises of a dedication to education funding.

Stimulus Pie

As the money is distributed, you can track where it’s going at: http://www.recovery.gov/

Though there were differences in the House and Senate versions of the bill, the final stimulus includes:

$39.5 B of the state stabilization fund for schools
$5 B incentive fund within the stabilization fund
$10 B for Title I programs for disadvantaged students
$3 B for Title I school improvement grants
$11.7 B for state grants for special education
$1.1 B for Early Head Start
$1 B for Head Start
$2 B for the Child Care Development Block Grant
$250 M for state data systems
$100 M for teacher-quality state grants
$200 M for the Teacher Incentive Fund
$650 M for education technology

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Adapting to New Realities

There is one particular area where independent schools can play a large leadership role over the next generation.

Because they are less encumbered by the laws and mandates that public schools face, independent schools can more readily adapt their programs to meet the needs of 21st century learners, digital natives in the parlance of the field. The sooner schools realize that the unbridled access to information provided by 2009 technology, the sooner they can teach to this new reality.

But we don’t just need change, we need effective change. Applying a simple solution to a complicated need only creates greater problems. We should not simply drop more technology instruction into an already bulging curriculum.

This is where using the AKOM framework can be a big help – the evolution of teaching should examine and address the ongoing neurodevelopmental needs of children. Schools must look at their evolution to the digital age of literacy through a student-centered lens.

But it is difficult to create an evolution while at the same time managing the day-to-day realities of running a school.

Armed with a deep knowledge of the AKOM framework and the experience of working closely with today’s learners, I hope my role as a consultant can help provide independent schools with a perspective on how to proceed during these fascinating and uncertain times.