Houses passes $10 billion for teachers

The House has passed the $26 billion jobs bill, including $10 billion for education. “It’s  unclear whether the country ever really faced hundreds of thousands of teacher layoffs,” reports NPR’s Larry Abramson in a surprisingly skeptical report.

ABRAMSON: Many of the districts we reached said they avoided or drastically reduced job cuts through wage freezes or other measures. Marguerite Roza of the University of Washington says, the total would have been moderate, and included many non-teaching jobs.

Dr. MARGUERITE ROZA (College of Education, University of Washington): Likely somewhere under 100,000 in terms of total education jobs. We know from the previous year the system lost about 80,000 jobs, which still puts it, you know, in the neighborhood of one percent.

ABRAMSON: And, Roza says, you have to remember, we are coming off of a boom in teacher hiring, so teacher-student staffing is still pretty strong.

NPR quotes Cato’s Neal McCluskey saying “we’ve increased employment at huge rates relative to enrollment and seen no increase in achievement.”

The U.S. Department of Education says the new money can be used to reverse wage freezes or cuts teachers accepted to avoid layoffs. That won’t save jobs but it will make teachers happy.

It’s a manufactured crisis, says Jeanne Allen of Center for Education Reform.

States will get money based on the number of children in public school. States that haven’t cut teachers are trying to figure out how to spend the money.

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Comments

  1. “Manufactured crisis”? Our school now has no counselor, music teacher or special ed aides to help mainstreamed kids.

  2. Roger Sweeny says:

    Ben F,

    I’m curious. Did this happen after the rest of you took a pay cut or instead of the rest of you taking a pay cut?

  3. Sounds like a down payment on teacher’s union votes a couple months from now. How many teachers are there in the US? Could we work the math and calculate the price per vote?

  4. Sharon R. says:

    Found a link that says 6.2 million teachers as of ’04 census data. Works out to about $1600 each.

    What I really want to know though is whether states can use the money to fund unfunded pension funds (ok, funded based on wilfully unrealistic growth estimates). That might benefit both teachers and the rest of us.

  5. Mike Curtis says:

    In my Idaho district, teacher and administrator duty positions were cut to the absolute minimum number supported by the state, classified positions were decimated, the salary scale was frozen, in addition to a 4 % across the board teacher pay cut and 6 % administrator pay cut. Further cuts were prevented by the district taxpayers supporting a tax levy increase to maintain extra-curricular activities and facilities maintenance.

    These actions followed the state declaration of a financial emergency and legislative action authorizing all Idaho school districts to breach Master Contracts and realign pay scales. All of this AFTER reducing the state’s allocation for education. The teachers’ associations were powerless to resist district administrators who were given carte blanche to violate the trust built by collective bargaining and signed contracts preceding these events.

    Manufactured crisis…you better believe it; but, the teachers can’t take credit for this one.

  6. Roger,

    The union agreed to five unpaid furlough days in this year’s contract, which amounts to something like a 2% pay cut.

  7. I think it is interesting that people think teachers all vote in a unified block.

  8. Roger Sweeny says:

    Ben F,

    Thanks for the info. I work in a, um, frugal district. Our pay scale is pretty low but when bad times come, there is money to keep us from having to lay off counselors, etc.

    I don’t know where cause and effect are but the administration also makes up for the low salaries by backing up the teachers. No one is told to change a mark because a parent complains. Disruptive students are dealt with positively by non-classroom personnel. And we don’t have to tear up curricula for the newest educational fad.

  9. Roger Sweeny says:

    I think it is interesting that people think teachers all vote in a unified block.

    I know that’s what my union leaders would like us to do (along with my two senators, governor, and president). They’re the people who make the news.

  10. Richard Aubrey says:

    Lightly.
    I don’t think teachers all vote in a unified block. But Obama apparently hopes enough of them do, and he’s probably got some history to back up his call.

  11. Mark Roulo says:

    Sounds like a down payment on teacher’s union votes a couple months from now.

    More accurate is probably that this $10B gets/ensures a certain amount of teacher *UNION* funding/donations/campaigning for Obama and the democrats come November. I’m pretty sure the major players involved know that teachers don’t vote as a block. But the campaign funding *does* get allocated in pretty much a block.

    -Mark Roulo

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