Education Reform Gets Jumpstart in Economic Recovery Package

Thursday, February 19th, 2009

The bipartisan organization Hope Street Group today released an updated analysis (.pdf) of the reform proposals in the recovery package – many of which mirror the group’s 2008 policy recommendations, and which have the potential to help build an education system that can power a thriving economy.

“If we want a strong and healthy economy, we need a 21st-century education system,” said executive director Monique Nadeau, a former Wall Street investment banker who took over the reins at Hope Street in 2007. “The way we will promote long-term prosperity for all Americans is by closing the skills gap that is hampering our ability to compete globally.”

The reforms will set the stage for long-term improvements in standards, accountability systems, and teacher effectiveness when the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) is reauthorized. Reform funding, including the first-ever $5 billion Incentive Fund has the potential to create a ‘race to the top’ among states vying for the money, she said.

“States that are stepping up to the challenge of providing their students a world-class education should be rewarded,” Ms. Nadeau said. “These funds offer a unique opportunity to support successful programs and share results in a way that can produce a real sea change in our education system.”

Hope Street Group Education Director Jocelyn Pickford, a former teacher who also worked at the U.S. Education Department, emphasized that the education community will need to partner with a broad coalition to implement reform.

“Educators cannot do this work in isolation,” she said. “Successfully implementing systemic change will require an engaged and committed reform community of all stakeholders — teachers, business leaders, parents, policy makers – engaging in an open dialogue about how to best help our nation’s students. As part of this effort, Hope Street Group will engage a bipartisan coalition to analyze successful outcomes of the ARRA and work to bring the state and local level perspective to the national conversation.”

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