The historic economic stimulus package took a topsy turvy route from inception to approval by President Obama last week. The final measure topped out at $787 billion, with a total of $130 billion directed towards education.And more...
When the original bill left the House two weeks ago, it included $177 billion in funds for education. Republican members of the Senate sought to make cuts in what they saw as a bill laden with fat that would not work to stimulate the economy. Education spending took a hit, especially the money reserved for school construction, with Republicans arguing that maintaining buildings should be the job of states and districts.
Much of the spending is in the form of health care for the poor; education funds for the states to avoid the impact of their own budget cuts on schools, and more money for food stamps, unemployment insurance and worker retraining funds.So I guess the following news really shouldn't come as much of a surprise.
Whatever the breakdown, Republicans said there was far too much spending, and not enough in tax cuts.
School districts that have been forced because of budget cuts to lay off teachers earlier this year have been able to hire at least some of them back, thanks to federal stimulus money. But the funds have not been able to prevent totally the dismissals of teachers, the reduction or cancellation of programs for gifted or special-needs students, and other cuts to state budgets for K-12 and higher education.Yep, keep right on solving everything with tax cuts, fellas. Too bad our kids will be too dumb to fill out a 1040. Please spare me all the nonsense about "evil teacher's unions" and how awful schools are. Reality is, in times like this, education (which we can agree is the only way out) is the last thing that should take a backseat.
As The New York Times points out Tuesday, federal stimulus funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) have been able to replace some of the cuts in state and city school budgets caused by drops in tax revenues - but barely so in states where the overall budget deficits have proved calamitous.
A report last Thursday by the Washington-based Center for Budget Policy and Planning said at least 25 states have cut state funds to school districts for K-12 education as well as pre-school programs like Head Start, programs for special-needs students, teacher training, math and science incentives, and adult literacy.
In order to try to preserve teacher positions, other school services have gone under the knife. About 23 percent of school districts surveyed by the American Association of School Administrators this summer said they are reducing or eliminating school transportation for the coming school year as part of cost-cutting measures. In some cases school buses are being retained only for disabled or special needs students.
And here we are worrying about a f*ckin' speech.
Question: Is education funding one of the things that shouldn't take a hit in a down economy, or is everything suspect? Did your kid see the Obama speech today in school?
Despite Stimulus, Education Suffers Cuts [CBS]
 BTW, that photo above is practically begging for a caption. Do the honors.