Item: As I've previously detailed, President Obama is a captive of the teachers unions -- he killed school vouchers on their behalf, and plans to increase the regulatory burdens on for-profit colleges. And no wonder: virtually all teacher union campaign contributions go to Democrats.
Item: The stimulus package could have been called the NEA (teachers' union) funding package. The Department of Education controlled the third-largest share of "recovery" funding and, of the 750,000 jobs supposedly "created or saved" by the stimulus, the Education Department claims credit for 400,000, i.e., more than half. Though the Department's own inspector reported the agency never investigated whether state job creation/retention numbers were "reasonably supported."
Item: As reported last week, the increased spending hasn't improved public school education. Yet, President Obama recently proposed "recruiting 10,000 [additional] Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) teachers over the next two years."
Item: As CATO's Andrew Coulson says:
Meanwhile, in America, Earth, Sol-System, public school employment has grown 10 times faster than enrollment for 40 years, while achievement at the end of high school has stagnated in math and declined in science.So that blather about reducing student-teacher ratios expands employment for teachers, and ups union dues, without improving the quality of education.
source: September 29th CATO at Liberty
Item: The teachers unions continue to resist "merit pay" -- indeed, blaming a recent suicide on the ranking of teacher effectiveness! -- one of the few "reforms" that works.
Conclusion: The Stimulus Package wasn't passed primarily to improve infrastructure or create jobs. It was political payback to what Tom Lehrer once called "the 'ed-biz.'" That may be in the private interest of teachers, unions and Democrats--but not in the public interest. Nor, of course, does it help school children--throwing more money at schools won't help.
Item: According to the Washington Post:
After a two-year salary freeze, Fairfax County teachers are lobbying the School Board to spend anticipated federal funds on pay raises instead of hiring hundreds of new instructors. . .I'm guessing the Administration won't see any clash at all.
But that plan might clash with both the School Board's plans and the spirit of the Obama administration's $10 billion education jobs bill, which federal officials said was intended to save or create 160,000 teaching jobs.
(via Instapundit, Education Week, Maggie's Farm, reader Warren)