By Delia Armstrong Busby

The U.S. Department of Education’s 2010 fiscal year budget of $47.6 billion includes an allocation of $517 million dedicated to the Teacher Incentive Fund which rewards principals, teachers, and other school personnel who raise student achievement, close achievement gaps and work hard to staff schools.

School districts across the country will be competing for the billions of dollars on the line. They will showcase their great schools, exemplary teachers and innovative ideas. There’s no doubt that the stimulus money will be a boon for school reform. For years, school districts have shown that they have innovative ideas, but without proper funding those ideas never come to fruition.

Colorado Springs School District 11 is among those salivating at the size of the federal pot. One of its latest projects, the creation of the Jack Swigert Aerospace Academy, could well fit the criteria the feds come up with for handing out money. The school is in a low-income neighborhood, it's being created in partnership with the U.S. Space Foundation, it'll have hands-on -- or what's now being called project-based -- learning, and its emphasis will be on math and science, areas where U.S. students tend to lag their counterparts in other parts of the world. District officials recently said they've already presented the idea to the governor and are working with state officials.


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