Making Sense of the Stimulus and EdTech—A Cheat Sheet

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan last month announced that $44 billion for states and schools is now available under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009. The Feds hope these monies will, “lay the foundation for a generation of education reform and help save hundreds of thousands of teaching jobs at risk of state and local budget cuts.” As you’ve probably read or heard in some vague way, this effort involves “modernizing America’s classrooms.” So what does that mean exactly when it comes to integrating technology into public education? We read the fine print so you don’t have to.

Funding source: Title I funds distribute monies to schools and school districts with a high percentage of students from low-income families. To qualify as a Title I school, a school typically has around 40% or more of its students that come from families that qualify under the United States Census's definitions as low-income. Analysts have noted that these new technology initiative will benefit schools district-wide.

How Much: $10 billion this year. The Department of Education awarded each State 50 percent of the funds last month. They expect to award the remaining by September 30, 2009 after each State submits a plan.

EdTech uses:
*Provide new opportunities for Title I schoolwide programs for secondary school students to use high-quality, online courseware as supplemental learning materials for meeting mathematics and science requirements.
*Use longitudinal data systems to drive continuous improvement efforts focused on improving achievement in Title I schools.
*Provide professional development to teachers in Title I targeted assistance programs on the use of data to inform and improve instruction for Title I-eligible students.

Funding source: IDEA Grants distribute funds for students with disabilities in the U.S. who require special education.
How much: the IDEA funds are provided under three authorities: $11.3 billion is available under Part B Grants to States; $400 million is available under Part B Preschool Grants; and $500 million is available under Part C Grants for Infants and Families. 50 percent awarded last month with the other 50 percent awarded by September 30, 2009. These monies are in addition to the usual funding amounts.

EdTech uses:
Part B—Grants to States and preschool grants
*Obtain state-of-the art assistive technology devices and provide training in their use to enhance access to the general curriculum for students with disabilities.
*Develop or expand the capacity to collect and use data to improve teaching and learning.
Part C Grants for Infants and families
*Support development of high quality state and local data systems to collect valid and reliable data for use in improving the timely delivery of early intervention services, the transition of children receiving services under Part C to the Part B preschool program, the tracking of early childhood outcome data as children exit the program and enter preschool and school, and in meeting data reporting requirements on the state's and EIS programs' performance on early childhood priority areas.
*Obtain state-of-the art assistive technology devices and provide training to qualified personnel on the use of such devices to support the functional development of infants and toddlers with disabilities.
*Implement innovative program strategies for improving the statewide services program, such as web-based systems for developing Individualized Family Service Plans and transition plans for toddlers with disabilities as they exit the Part C program.
*Purchase equipment for use by qualified personnel such as occupational and speech therapists to increase their ability to provide effective services.

Funding source: Enhancing Education Through Technology (EETT) program
How much: $650M in addition to previously allotted $267 million. As with the existing program, 50 percent of the funds will be distributed as formula grants, and the remaining 50percent made available through competitive grants.

EdTech uses:
* Improve student academic achievement through the use of technology in elementary and secondary schools; improve technology literacy; and enable professional development for teachers in integrating technology into their curriculum.
*Support the ongoing needs of their technology education program such as hardware and teacher professional development. Integrate technology into the curriculum that supports academic achievement through content-based software.