Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Stimulus Package Brings Hope and Challenges to Educators

Yesterday, President Obama signed the $787 billion economic stimulus package into law. Out of that $787 billion, $115 billion is dedicated to education. This $115 billion is divided into specific sectors such as state aid for schools, special education and child care development, to name a few. To see the exact numbers and where the money is designated as of right now, double click on the pie chart below (this will bring the chart up in another window which allows for better visibility).

This stimulus will help American education a great deal. US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan must now decide where these funds will go in their respective categories. For instance, the $53.6 billion for state aid to schools will have to be split up amongst the 50 states, and then split up amongst the nation's 14,000 school districts. It is going to be very interesting to see how the funds are disbursed.

For the Center for STEM Ed, the stimulus package brings hope, since the TQE-R Grant will run out in September of this year. Mr. Duncan will have the power of distributing up to $650 million worth of grants to districts and non-profit organizations. It is unclear at this point whether any funds will be distributed to the Center for STEM Ed so that it may continue the initiatives that have been created through the TQE-R Grant (such as the Urban Teacher Academy and Tomorrow's Teachers programs).

Hopefully, the New Jersey Department of Education will receive enough money that some can be disbursed to the Center for STEM Ed to sustain and expand its current programs. After the January 27th meeting at the College of New Jersey, it can be expected that New Jersey Department of Education Commissioner Lucille Davy will be keeping the Center for STEM Ed in mind when disbursing funds.

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