Education Stimulus

How far will state lawmakers go to get a bigger chunk of $4.4 billion in federal money? Apparently far enough to put aside at least some political differences and work together to help make it happen.

That’s what took place last week when Ohio legislators pushed through an adjustment on student data that will help the state gauge how well a K-12 curriculum is preparing students for college. It also gives students and teachers a year-by-year look at student progress from the first year in school through the last.

Why rush through this measure? Ohio is among a handful of states being considered to receive a share of the extra federal education stimulus money being dangled before them by President Obama. Only about 10 to 20 states will receive the funds that is, if they make changes consistent with the Obama administration’s goals for education reform.

There is a Jan. 19 application deadline for the federal “Race to the Top” funds, and states are scrambling to put themselves in prime position to receive the biggest piece of the pie they can.

Both Democrats and Republicans in Ohio believe the state is in a good position to get up to $400,000 million in additional federal education stimulus money. The New Teacher Project, a national organization that promotes teacher quality, has put Ohio in a grouping of 15 states it considers to be competitive for the federal funds.

The student tracking adjustment pushed through last week was one both Democrats and Republicans in Ohio were able to quickly agree upon. There are other education reform measures being proposed in the state that will make it more difficult to bring the parties together.

Ohio can use all the money for education it can get. We urge state legislators to continue their efforts and compromise on their policies wherever they can if any additional federal funding for education can be secured that will ultimately benefit our youth and their future.