To this day, federal dollars represent less than 10 percent of public education funding. State governments provide the bulk of the funding, so they are mostly immune to federal efforts to reform education policy.The current crisis in state budgets has created a historic opportunity to change this paradigm. State governments, mired in long-term fiscal trouble, are willing to accept the requirements the federal government has imposed in order to receive desperately needed aid.Paradigmatic change is already happening. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has altered the political landscape through competitive grant programs like Race To The Top, that provide state and local governments with funding if the recipient agreed to some form of educational reforms. More than 30 states have changed laws around the issue of teacher evaluation. The impending reauthorization of ESEA has taken the process a step further: 37 states have agreed to the Common Core standards for curricula to ensure they will qualify for future federal funding. The groundwork has been laid for an increased federal role in education. We need to build on these accomplishments to ensure that federal dollars can continue to be leveraged to produce local successes after the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding runs out.