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Ed Money Watch

A Blog from New America's Federal Education Budget Project

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Happy Holidays!

December 19, 2008

In honor of the holiday season, Ed Money Watch will be on vacation for the next two weeks. We will return with commentary and coverage of education finance issues on Tuesday, January 6th.

Until then, we will leave you with this quote from new Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan:

Pros and Cons of the Program Assessment Rating Tool

December 18, 2008

Since it's inception in 2002, the Program Assessment Rating Tool (PART) has received both criticism and praise from stakeholders, researchers, and Congress. Let's explore the pros and cons of the PART:

Pros

Introducing Arne Duncan, Next Secretary of Education

December 16, 2008

After more than six weeks of hand wringing and hypothesizing, the education community finally has its answer - Arne Duncan, current CEO of Chicago Public Schools (CPS), will be the next Secretary of Education.

Education and the Economy: Districts Making Tough Decisions

December 15, 2008

Last week we examined some of the strategies states are employing to pare down their education budgets in the face of the economic downturn. School districts are also affected by the simultaneous stress placed on federal, state and local education budgets. And they are considering some serious and often creative ways of rethinking their budgets for the current school year.

FEBP Wants Your Feedback!

December 15, 2008

As an Ed Money Watch reader, you are hopefully familiar with our parent initiative, the Federal Education Budget Project (FEBP).

Child Care Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS)

December 11, 2008

The CCAMPIS program provides funding to colleges for childcare services for low-income parents. In 2004 CCAMPIS received a "results not demonstrated" rating. In 2007 it was "re-PARTed" and received an "adequate" rating.

Education and the Economy: State Strategies

December 9, 2008

Things aren't great in the economy right now. Federal, state, and local bodies are struggling to make ends meet.

Safe and Drug Free Schools PART Assessment

December 4, 2008

Over the past few weeks we've been looking at the PART on a macro-level. Now it's time to take a closer look at PART results for an individual program. The Safe and Drug Free Schools program (SDFS) is a block grant that provides funding to states and school districts for drug and violence prevention in schools. In 2006 it was given a "results not demonstrated" rating. Why?

Let's first examine how SDFS fared on each section of the PART assessment:

Program Purpose and Design - SDFS Score 60%

The program received full credit for three of the five questions in this section - whether the program's purpose is clear, whether the program addresses a specific problem, and whether the program is duplicative of other programs.

It received no credit for two questions. The PART assessment found that SDFS has a design flaw that limits its effectiveness. Because SDFS is a block grant, funding is thinly distributed across all 50 states. As a result, "two-thirds of all school districts receive allocations of less than $10,000, amounts typically too small to mount comprehensive and effective drug prevention and school safety programs." Though the PART points out the design problem, at the end of the day, this is really a funding issue.

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