Should jobs bill be tied to reform?

National Journal’s Education Experts tackle a new question: Should Sen. Tom Harkin’s $23 billion education jobs bill, designed to prevent teacher lay-offs, be linked to changes in teacher tenure and seniority rules?

Sen. Harkin says, “When a house is burning, first you put out the fire – then you talk about reforms.”

That’s mostly smoke, responds Mike Antonucci, who notes schools have hired one new teacher for every four new students in the last decade.

Diane Ravitch and Deborah Meier want the feds to stop pushing reforms of dubious quality on the states.

Rick Hess, Andrew Rotherham, Tom Vander Ark say: No more money for more of the same.

Rotherham writes:

We know that teacher effectiveness matters

We know that “last hired, first fired” policies are insensitive to effectiveness or the professional judgment of educators in schools and school districts

So why give $23 billion and ask for nothing in return?

That argument makes sense to me. I may add more to the discussion, if I can find the time. (I spent the weekend celebrating my niece’s second birthday, Mother’s Day and my mother’s birthday in a house with many people. And a puppy.)

About Joanne


  1. Why give money and ask for nothing in return? That is not the question. First, who does the money belong to? All that money came from the taxes of the people you are giving it to. The second thing is it assumes that you cannot trust teachers and principals and school boards to use it wisely, but you can trust people who do not know the schools or communities, and in many cases have no training in education, to make those decision from Washington, DC. None of the things the feds are asking are supported by any empirical evidence, and in fact are contrary to much of the evidence.


  1. […] Contact « Should jobs bill be tied to reform? […]