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Stabilization Fund Reporting Requirements, Round Two

The U.S. Department of Education today specified the kind of data and information that states will need to submit if they want to get a piece of the second—and final—round of State Fiscal Stabilization Fund money. Back in April, the department alerted governors that this guidance would be coming.

States will need to meet a total of 35 reporting requirements, including 32 "indicators" and three that will require some kind of a description. Eight of the criteria can be addressed using already existing data. And 14 of the indicators require a "yes" or "no" response.

The criteria address each of the four assurances that Congress wanted to states to work on as a condition of getting stimulus funding, including teacher quality and distribution, standards and assessments, state data systems, and turning around low-performing schools.

The turnaround section has the most requirements—13—and all but one of them are looking for new information. That seems to fit with the stepped-up federal role in helping states and districts figure out how to turn around low-performing that were a hallmark of the guidance on the School Improvement grants, slated to go out this fiscal year.

On the turnaround front, the department wants to get growth-related data, including the average statewide school gain for all kids and the average statewide school gain for the subgroups measured under the No Child Left Behind Act (such as English-Language Learners and students in special education).

And, building on the emphasis of high school reform, the department wants to know from states seeking SFSF just how many secondary schools are eligible for—but don't get—Title I money, and have persistently low student achievement. The department also is asking for a lot of charter data from those states, including the number of charters they have operating and the number and identity of charters that have closed in the last five years.

Not surprisingly, given all the emphasis on teacher quality, the department is also asking for a lot of information on teachers and teacher evaluation, including whether teacher evaluation systems take into account student achievement outcomes or student growth data. The feds also want to know about the systems used to evaluate and promote principals, and determine their compensation.

And, if a district's teachers receive performance ratings through an evaluation system, the department is interested in whether the number and percentage of teachers rated at each performance rating or level is publicly reported for each school in the district.

The department is also asking for:

*Four-year graduation rate data, broken up by subgroup.

*Number and percentage of high school grads that enroll in an institution of higher education within 16 months of receiving their diploma.

*Whether the states share with math and reading teachers just how much of an impact they've had on their students' assessment scores.

A full list of the requirements (called the Notice of Final Requirements) is available now for viewing in the Federal Register. The final application will go live on the department's Web site Thursday, and it will include a timeline for when the money will become available. But if you want to take a look at an advance draft of that application, it's already up on the department's Web site.

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