Commentary

The Government Fails the Transparency Test in Education Stimulus Spending

Michelle McNeil, at Education Week’s Politics K-12 blog, reports on her painstaking efforts to track down the transparency of stimulus money flowing into Colorado schools, after visiting the Bruce Randolph School in Denver and learning that the school has already received $200,000 in education stimulus money and the principal was debating how best to spend it. Michelle tries to track the tranparency of the money through several “transparecy” reporting sites including Recovery.gov, Colorado’s Recovery website, and the U.S. Department of Education’s Recovery web portal. She searches government websites, Excel spreadsheets and government documents to no avail:

So far, all levels of government are failing the transparency test because, besides a mention in a news story, there’s no evidence that money has made its way to Colorado school districts.

Lisa Snell is the director of education and child welfare at Reason Foundation, a nonprofit think tank advancing free minds and free markets.

Snell has frequently testified before the California State Legislature and numerous other state legislatures and government agencies. She has authored policy studies on school finance and weighted student funding, universal preschool, school violence, charter schools, and child advocacy centers.

Snell is a frequent contributor to Reason magazine, School Reform News and Privatization Watch. Her writing has also appeared in Education Week, Edutopia, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, San Francisco Chronicle, Orange County Register, Los Angeles Times, and numerous other publications.

Ms. Snell is also an advisory board member to the National Quality Improvement Center for the Children's Bureau; is on the charter school accreditation team for the American Academy for Liberal Education; and serves as a board member for the California Virtual Academy.

Before joining Reason Foundation, Snell taught public speaking and argumentation courses at California State University, Fullerton. She earned a Master of Arts in communication from California State University, Fullerton.