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  • Outside the Beltway: Who are We Bailing Out?

    A bill signed by President Barack Obama on August 10th was supposed to save teachers’ jobs. It was a $26 Billion dollar spending bill that allocated $10 billion for education spending so school districts could rehire laid off teachers or prevent districts from having to fire more teachers. Speaker Nancy Pelosi thought it was so important that she called the House of Representatives back from August recess to pass it. However, there seems to be a problem.

    A report that came out last week notes that some of the states who received the bailout funds were never actually  in danger of having to lay off teachers. Some states that received funds when they did not need them, like Alaska and North Dakota, have no plans for how they will use the money.

    And yesterday, the New York Times reported that the new stimulus money might not be used to re-hire teachers, stating:

    But now that the federal government has come through with $10 billion, some of the nation’s biggest school districts are balking at using their share of the money to hire teachers right away. With the economic outlook weakening, they argue that big deficits are looming for the next academic year and that they need to preserve the funds to prevent future layoffs… In Arizona, where most schools opened this month, nonteaching employees are more likely to be recalled. ‘It would be hard to add teachers this year,’ said Paul Senseman, a spokesman for Gov. Jan Brewer. ‘But the funds could be used on any school-level position like counselors, after-school programs, aides, nurses or coaches.’… Though grateful for the aid, districts like Los Angeles are worried about how to create some budget stability year to year. In Pomona, Calif., the district has yet to decide whether to hire back about 68 teachers laid off in the spring.

    But it gets better. When President Barack Obama signed the bill, he stated:

    We can’t stand by and do nothing while pink slips are given to the men and women who educate our children or keep our communities safe.

    American Enterprise Institute’s Rick Hess blogged about a conference call that Secretary of Education Arne Duncan was on. On the call Duncan stated:

    Today’s historic vote means school officials won’t need to make those tough calls.

    School districts are singing a different tune.  Districts like Kansas City, Kansas and Las Vegas, Nevada, who could actually use the influx of cash, are wondering what they are going to do when the cash runs out. It doesn’t so much solve a problem as much as it simply prolongs a greater problem. So even with the money that was allocated, some school districts aren’t able to use the money to rehire teachers who have lost their job.

    In New Jersey, where 3,000 teachers got laid off, Governor Christie’s administration worries that the Federal aid will only stall difficult decisions that will have to be made later on. It is a recurring theme. It is tough to make decisions based on a onetime cash infusion.

    Heritage expert Lindsey Burke has a series of reports titled “Creating a Crisis” where she identified a few of the many problems in the current education system. She points out that states already squandered $100 billion in stimulus money.

    A band-aid solution is not going to fix states’ fiscal problems. Comprehensive education reform – implementing merit pay for teachers to better target state resources, reforming hiring and firing practices, rolling back tenure and empowering parents – is the best solution. While there is no correlation between increased education spending and academic achievement, there are many ways in which resources can be better targeted at the state level. But in order to empower state and local leaders, the federal government must free states from the bureaucratic red tape that binds their hands.

    Posted in Education [slideshow_deploy]

    7 Responses to Outside the Beltway: Who are We Bailing Out?

    1. West Texan says:

      Why is the federal government forcing Americans to pay for local services in other states? That's the province of local governments using state aid if necessary. Residents pay for these domestic services through their state and/or local taxes. Why is the democratic majority throwing ever more billions at social spending that's bankrupting our nation? What are they trying to prove? Who are they trying to please? Come November, they all need to be fired.

    2. Pingback: Rebellion News

    3. Stephen E. Baron, No says:

      What we really need to do is to go back to Federalism, give states back the powers that Washington has usurped, and abolish the Dept. of Education. Schools policy is a local issue and should be addressed on the local and state level. As the above article shows, this latest bailout doesn't even have a real need in many states (as if any of the recent bailouts actually did). If Washington did its homework, it would discover that the annual teacher layoffs and subsequent rehirings are a regular occurrance that has existed for decades, and not a new phenomena caused by our economic downturn.

      I agree with West Texan – de-elect all Congresspeople and Senators who voted for this and the other obscenities like Obamacare and let's get some common sense back to DC. We The People need representatives who actually represent us, not just toe the Party line.

    4. Tim Az says:

      It's not that hard to figure out. Lets say that the Federal Government is a crack dealer,and the State governments are the users. If the crack dealer wants to maintain a decent client base what's the best way to ensure the client always returns for more? The dealer simply gives the crack to the user every time the user begins to show signs that they intend on breaking the addiction. This allows the dealer to exploit the users weakness to obtain favors and profit at the same time. The Federal govt. hands out the peoples money with the requirement that the money received can not be used to balance the coming years budget. This forces the states that take the money to remain in debt, At the mercy of the Federal Govt.

    5. Moore, Prescott says:

      The only purpuse for the bill was to buy the teacher union vote this November!!!

    6. Pingback: Outside the Beltway: LAUSD Facing Budget Cuts, School Year Delayed — Let's Change America

    7. dannyroberts Phoenix says:

      with all these 10s of billions of dollars of our hard earned money that this

      Obama guy is throwing around,has any one noticed, that he and his wife make no mention of the south side of Chicago, it looks like a bombed out war zone. wasn't he a community organizer up there?

      / do you think he doesn't know thats it's worse now than it was then, how come he doesn't try to bail out his own poverty stricken people, maybe they should wake up and realize that he needs them to be dependant on their government. we are all being misrepresented by this misguided

      fool in the white house!

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