To help ensure that the federal stimulus dollars are used to reform the nation’s schools, the Alliance for Excellent Education has joined more than thirty diverse education, business, civil rights, and philanthropic organizations urging federal, state, and local leaders to ensure that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) provides more than just a short-term economic boost, but also achieves long-term, dramatic gains in student achievement. The organizations are a part of the newly created Coalition for Student Achievement, which recently sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan emphasizing that “speed and efficiency must not trump reform and improvement” in delivering these much-needed funds. In the letter, the Coalition pledged to closely monitor state and district progress in allocating the funds and implementing reforms.
“In these times of economic uncertainty, the only sure bet is on education,” said Bob Wise, president of the Alliance for Excellent Education and former governor of West Virginia. “With the enactment of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the federal government has heavily emphasized investment in education, but true gain will only come if these dollars are used for reforms that result in dramatic gains for students over the long run.”
In its letter to Secretary Duncan, the Coalition pledged its commitment to working with the Obama administration, states, and school districts to strengthen America’s schools, improve teacher effectiveness, boost standards, and better prepare young people for college and work. The Coalition also promised to closely monitor state and district progress on allocating the funds and implementing the reforms.
The Coalition acknowledged that the initial guidance provided by the U.S. Department of Education’s supplied states with broad suggestions on how to achieve reform, but urged that future instructions give “much stronger, clearer direction to states and local education leaders about how to meet the assurances and demonstrate measurable outcomes,” adding that states “need workable models and technical assistance to implement these changes effectively within the stimulus funding guidelines.”
Other organizations that are members of the Coalition include the United States Chamber of Commerce, Business Roundtable, Carnegie Corporation of New York, Center for American Progress, Citizens’ Commission on Civil Rights, the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the James B. Hunt, Jr. Institute for Educational Leadership and Policy, National Council of La Raza, and the Thomas B. Fordham Institute.
“President Barack Obama and his administration have shown bold leadership in making clear that meaningful economic recovery must include significant improvements in education,” said Arthur J. Rothkopf, senior vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “We have come together to work with federal, state, and local leaders to help ensure that the reforms connected to the education stimulus dollars are real. We urge the president and Secretary Duncan to use their authority to ensure states and districts use this opportunity to foster lasting reforms that will fundamentally change our public education system and ensure long-term economic strength.”
More information on the Coalition, including a complete list of member organizations, is available at http://coalitionforstudentachievement.org/.