• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Propping up the Teachers Unions

    Last night, the House of Representatives passed their version of the defense supplemental bill by a vote of 215-210. The bill includes $10 billion for the “Education Jobs Fund” which Democratic leadership claims will “save” 140,000 jobs.

    At that rate, each job “saved” will cost more than $70,000, which is $16,000 higher than the average teacher salary of $54,000 in 2008–2009—a cumulative difference of about $2 billion.

    Data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that the unionization rate of public school teachers in early 2009 was 57 percent. Average state union dues are approximately $300 —not including what teachers must pay to their national union affiliate—meaning teacher unions could have about $24 million in dues at stake in the “Education Jobs Fund”.

    Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee Congressman Dave Obey cut $800 million from several of the Department of Education’s favorite programs, including $500 million from Race to the Top, in order to pay for the $10 billion “Education Jobs Fund”. Obey defended his decision noting:

    The secretary of education is somewhat unhappy…One of the secretary’s objections, evidently, is the fact that last year in the stimulus we provided him with a $4.35 billion pot of money to use virtually any way he wanted to stimulate educational progress —$4.3 billion. He has spent a small amount of that.

    On cutting $500 million, Obey stated:

    …that still leaves him with $3.2 billion that he can spend any way his department wants…The secretary is somehow offended because he only has $3.2 billion to pass around…to suggest that we’re being unduly harsh is a joke.

    While liberals are arguing over how to finance the “Education Jobs Fund,” conservatives are questioning the merits of another $10 billion public education bailout. According to The Heritage Foundation’s education policy analyst Lindsey Burke:

    Long-term budgetary solutions are needed. Continuing to raise taxes and rely on more federal funds is an unsustainable plan for fixing state budget shortfalls and improving education. States along with the federal government have room to cut spending without jeopardizing teacher jobs or compensation. Instead of seeking another federal bailout from Washington, states should ensure that current funding is being efficiently spent on schools’ essential educational needs.

    James Hall is a member of the Young Leaders Program at the Heritage Foundation. For more information on interning at Heritage, please visit: http://www.heritage.org/about/departments/ylp.cfm

    Posted in Education [slideshow_deploy]

    2 Responses to Propping up the Teachers Unions

    1. Ed Liberatore, Turtl says:

      As of 2006, there were 4,615,00 people employed by 13,000 school districts in this country. Of these, 300,000 clerical and secretarial staff were filling out No Child Left Behind paperwork and wondering why 64,000 officials and administrators weren't doing it themselves. The reason-they were busy doing the jobs of 125,000 principals and assistant principals who can't do it because they're supervising 383,000 other professional staff who are overseeing 483,000 teachers' aides. And don't forget the 726,000 service workers who are busy cleaning up the mess the rest are leaving behind in the teacher's lounge and the students in the mess halls and other public areas.

      Does anyone consider this to be an efficient system?

      And you want government to run our health care system?

    2. Richard Innes, Kentu says:

      Disappearing education dollars are nothing new in Kentucky. Since our radical education reform act of 1990 was passed, the state has experienced more than a 54% increase in real spending on education.

      However, our individual teachers' salaries have only increased around 13%.

      For more on this disappearing act:


      Richard Innes

      Education Analyst

      Bluegrass Institute for Public Policy Solutions

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.