Capitalizing on the Stimulus: A Rare Opportunity That Calls for Creative Thinking

May 21, 2009

We want your ideas!! There are many ways early education can capitalize on the billions being made available in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Local Education Agencies (LEAs) and State Education Agencies (SEAs) have access to a number of funding streams to further efforts that include professional development, quality improvement, program expansion and infrastructure development, just to name a few. Doing so, however, requires creative thinking, an assessment of need and an understanding of the avenues ARRA makes available, and stipulations for each.

Share Your Thoughts. We want to know what you think about ways pre-K can benefit from the ARRA, experiences you may have had in applying, or questions you may have. There are, to be sure, far more approaches than the few outlined here. Knowing how others in the field are approaching ARRA can be a big help in formulating your strategy.

Toward that end, NIEER has launched the Idea Factory to serve as a forum for sharing ideas and successes with others.

  • Using Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) funding to provide professional development for special education and regular education teachers in math, literacy and behavioral supports.
  • Using the State Fiscal Stabilization funds to construct preschool facilities that provide features like play areas where children can exercise their motor skills, food and snack preparation areas, learning centers, and conference space for parents and teachers.
  • Applying for competitive grants from the “Race to the Top” program to build upon and expand pre-K programs that have been shown to make progress in narrowing the achievement gap.
  • Applying for grants from the Innovation Fund to improve recruitment and placement of high-quality teachers.
  • Using Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) funds to supplement spending on early care and education for low-income families – as long as the money doesn’t “supplant” state budget reductions under specific conditions.
  • Using Title I funds to expand pre-K programs, deliver early childhood screening, provide professional development or temporarily increase income eligibility to serve more families.

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