The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), aimed at stimulating and stabilizing the American economy during the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, reflects significant new dimensions of federal action in the area of educational reform. In addition to saving jobs in the educator workforce, the ARRA was designed to spark the implementation of specific reform strategies in states and schools and lay a foundation for the Obama administration's subsequent educational reform efforts, including the impending reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. While the goals of the educational reform provisions of the ARRA are laudable, the ARRA oversteps the limits of effective federal action. The educational reform provisions of the ARRA face many potential pitfalls given the historical characteristics of federal educational reform 'from the capitol to the classroom, " the scientific evidence underlying the reforms encouraged by the ARRA, and the current political climate. Although many of these pitfalls are now unavoidable, reform efforts that build on the ARRA but focus on managing the teacher workforce, balance issues of local and federal authority in a more nuanced way, and draw more strongly on educational research offer much promise for more effective federal action in education

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