Stimulating schools

Politics K-12 is the place to go for news on the education provisions of the compromise stimulus bill:

The agreement would provide $53.6 billion for the state fiscal stabilization fund, including $40.6 billion to local school districts using existing funding formulas, which can be used for averting layoffs and programmatic cutbacks, and to pay for school modernization. The fund also includes $5 billion for incentive grants to be allocated by the Secretary of Education; and $8 billion to states’ high–priority needs, which may include education.

The agreement would provide $1.1 billion for Early Head Start and $1 billion for Head Start, plus $2 billion for the Child Care Development Block Grant.

It would also provide $13 billion for Title I programs for disadvantaged students and $12.2 billion for grants for special education.

And, on the higher education front, the bill would boost the maximum Pell Grant to college students by $500, for a maximum of $5,350 in 2009 and $5,550 in 2010.

. . .

The $25 million fund for charter school facilities is not included.

. . . The compromise agreement includes $250 million for state data systems, $100 million for teacher quality state grants, and $200 million for the Teacher Incentive Fund. It also has $650 million for education technology, which is less than the $1 billion provided in both the House and Senate bills. The $13 billion for Title I money includes $3 billion for school improvement grants, according to education lobbyists.

Lots of money, not much reform.

The Gadfly guys have advice for Arne Duncan on how to manage the ed stimulus money.

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  1. Cardinal Fang says:

    Yes, it is lots of money and not much reform. But a stimulus bill is not the place for lots of reform. That $53.6 billion, the majority of the education spending, is going to state and local government to keep teachers from being laid off. This has the double benefit of keeping teachers in the classroom teaching kids, and also keeping a large chunk of teachers from becoming unemployed at a time when unemployment is huge and rising.

    The point of a stimulus bill is to spend money. Keeping teachers from getting laid off is a good way to spend the money.

  2. Hunter McDaniel says:

    Why is it so important that we borrow money we don’t have to keep teachers from being laid-off or having pay cuts, but not the same for my job?

    Let’ see – the unionized teachers are a core Democratic constituency and my company isn’t. So is that the way America’s economy is going to work henceforth?

  3. You’re a little late to the party bucko.

    That’s the way the American economy, or more accurately government, has worked from day one. A good part of what constitutes the American government is specifically set up to try to prevent just this sort of thing from happening since it was pretty obvious that, human nature not having been altered by the establishment of a more perfect union the union had damned well better take human nature into account.

  4. Cardinal Fang says:

    A substantial amount of the stimulus is supposed to be indirect: the teachers and firefighters keep their jobs, people who have lost their jobs get unemployment benefits, hungry people get food stamps– and then all those people use the money to buy things, which has the secondary effect of propping up business.

    A Democrat won the election, so some stimulus funds are going toward Democratic priorities, but everybody benefits if we reduce unemployment from what it would have been.

  5. Increasing the budget for special education and title one programs has been long overdue. Even if there were not the present financial problems in education, a bill increasing funding for Education would have been a top priority in this administration. Good or Bad, We would have seen an increase in the funding anyway…..just not to this degree. The more important question remains; In 2-3 years (maybe sooner) what will 25 billion in US dollars be worth??

  6. Homeschooling Granny says:

    Option A: When the government ‘stimulates’ the economy by hiring people it either (1) pays them with tax money, (2) borrows the money from some entity that will want a return (China?) or (3) prints more money causing inflation and the loss of value of the dollar.
    Option B: Cutting corporate taxes (now 2nd highest in the world) and corporate gains taxes would stimulate the private, tax paying sectors of the economy.
    FDR chose option A, JFK, RWR and GWB chose option B. Guess who had a depression?
    Oh, and you can compare the 1930 Smoot Hawley tariff with the stimulus bill’s Buy American plan for good measure.

  7. Homeschooling Granny says:

    correction: that should be capital gains, not corporate gains. Sorry.

  8. Andy Freeman says:

    > FDR chose option A, JFK, RWR and GWB chose option B. Guess who had a depression?

    Now now. FDR inherited a recession. He merely kept it going by doubling-down on the programs and spending that Hoover tried.

    FDR actually campaigned against Hoover on a “cut spending, balance the budget” platform. Hoover had been increasing spending at an amazing rate on public works projects and the like and vowed to do more of the same.

    Once in office, FDR reversed course and basically implemented Hoover’s plans.

    One difference is that FDR was more aggressive than Hoover in trying to reduce production. That probably had more effect than the spending on making the depression last longer.

    FDR didn’t take his foot off the brake until he realized that the US couldn’t be the “Arsenal of Democracy” for WWII unless it actually produced.

  9. Cardinal Fang says:

    It’s ridiculous to say that FDR “had” a depression without mentioning Hoover, under whose tenure it started. The Great Depression started in 1929. When FDR took office in 1933, the unemployment rate was at 25%.

    The US got out of the Great Depression in WWII. Why? Because of cuts in capital gains taxes? No, because of huge deficit spending.

  10. Mark Roulo says:

    No, because of huge deficit spending.

    It has to be more than that because Japan has been trying huge deficit spending since the early 1990s and it hasn’t really helped them.

    -Mark Roulo

  11. Andy Freeman says:

    > The US got out of the Great Depression in WWII. Because of cuts in capital gains taxes? No, because of huge deficit spending.

    The deficit spending didn’t start with WWII – it started under Hoover. FDR continued it for 8 years and the Depression didn’t end.

    The thing that changed with WWII is the end of the war on production, restricting who could make what and instituting minimum prices, a war which Hoover started and FDR continued until WWII.