Education stimulus funds largely met the goal of saving or
creating jobs for K-12 teachers (kindergarten to 12th
grade, that is children from 6-19 years old) and other education
personnel, according to a summary of three years of survey research
by the Center on Education Policy at the George Washington
University (CEP). However, ongoing state budget shortfalls have
slowed state implementation of education reforms tied to the
receipt of stimulus money under the American Recovery and
Reinvestment Act (ARRA).
Eliminate teaching staff
"Federal stimulus funds appear to have blunted the effects of
the economic downturn on the K-12 education sector," said Maria
Ferguson, CEP's executive director. "Although many districts still
had to eliminate teaching and other key staff positions, our
research indicates that the situation would have been worse without
the stimulus funds."
The CEP report, What Impact Did Education Stimulus
Funds Have on States and Schools?, summarizes the effects of
the ARRA on K-12 education after three years of implementation.
Findings are drawn from surveys, conducted between December 2009
and February 2012, of state and local officials charged with
implementing the ARRA and Education Jobs programs and were
previously described in six previous CEP reports on ARRA.
Side effects of crisis measures
In 2010, about 70 percent of the nation's school districts used
State Fiscal Stabilization funding, the largest pot of ARRA
education money, to save or create jobs for teachers and other
school personnel, CEP found. In 2011, a vast majority of the states
surveyed by CEP also reported that ARRA and Education Jobs funds
had saved teaching jobs and other district and school-level
positions in their state. In addition, the majority of districts
receiving ARRA supplemental funds for the federal Title I and
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act programs reported using
at least some of those funds to save or create jobs.
The report also finds that the stimulus funds had a side effect
of laying the groundwork for a common reform agenda among the
states. As a condition of receiving stimulus funds, states had to
assure that they would take action on certain reform-related
- Making progress toward implementing rigorous standards and
- Establishing and using statewide data systems to track
students' progress from preschool to college or careers;
- Increasing teacher effectiveness; and
- Providing support to turn around low-performing
Funding and reforms
States participating in CEP's surveys consistently indicated
that they were taking action on these four reform areas, but by
2011 few states had fully implemented the reforms. Further,
in states and districts facing budget cuts, progress on the four
reforms has slowed.
"Given that nearly 84 percent of nation's school districts
reported funding cuts for the school year that just ended, parents
and students may not see the full benefits of these reforms until
local economic conditions improve," said Alexandra Usher, CEP's
senior research assistant and co-author of the report.