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  • Senators Exaggerate Number of Teachers’ Jobs in Jeopardy

    In early August, when the U.S. Senate earmarked $10 billion to recover lost jobs in education, supporters of the measure claimed the money would save thousands of teachers’ jobs. President Obama put the figure at 160,000 jobs across the country. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) said it would save the jobs of 16,500 teachers in her state. And Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) claimed the funding would protect between 2,000 and 3,000 teaching jobs in Colorado.

    But nearly three weeks after the vote, Bennet, at least, appears to have exaggerated.

    According to Education News Colorado, the hard fact is no one knows for sure how many Colorado teachers’ jobs were eliminated or at risk this year because of budget cuts. The most specific estimate EdNewsColorado could find suggested budget cuts affected 1,825 Colorado teaching jobs — a number near the low end of Bennet’s range, but a far cry from his 3,000 figure. The EdNewsColorado estimate even included layoffs, attrition, position freezes and other staffing actions in multiple job classifications — categories not exactly equivalent to teaching positions lost.

    So, why did Bennet recite that inflated estimate on the Senate floor Aug. 5 and include it in a news release the day before? Bennet’s communications director did not respond to phone calls seeking an answer, but, presumably, the senator must have accepted the U.S. Department of Education’s official estimate without question.

    Bennet really couldn’t have gotten the number anywhere else. The Colorado Department of Education doesn’t have an official estimate, said Mark Stephens, director of communications. The Colorado Education Association, the Colorado Association of School Boards and the Colorado Association of School Executives don’t either, according to EdNewsColorado.

    That’s fine if the federal figures are reliable. But the Department of Education seems to have used the same misguided math to make its projections as Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) did to claim the bailout would save the state of Washington about 3,000 teaching jobs — when, in fact, the number was just 445.

    According to the Tacoma News Tribune, Murray simply divided her state’s portion of the bailout money by the average teachers’ salary to determine the number of jobs “saved.”  With that math, the more money the federal government allocated, the more “jobs” states saved, no matter the number of existing jobs, much less the number of jobs in jeopardy.

    The Department of Education did not respond to phone calls, but according to EdNewsColorado, the federal agency used state budget information, school enrollments and average educator salaries — not actual pink slips — to determine its projections. That sounds a little too similar to Murray’s method to be completely reassuring.

    Maybe that’s why several deficit-laden states, including California and Oregon, might opt to use the bailout money to pay down debt instead of to rehire teachers — because teachers’ jobs were never as much at issue as the federal government claimed.

    It certainly seems that way. From 2003 to 2008, 38 states increased their teacher work forces at a greater rate than student enrollment, according to research by the Education Intelligence Agency. The same years, in Iowa and Kentucky, one new teacher was hired for every two new students.

    Federal lawmakers might now object to states using the allocated money for real problems — and, indeed, they have. Boxer, for example, issued a terse statement that said, “This funding can only be used to save education jobs that serve our children in public schools — and nothing else.”

    But perhaps Boxer and others who voted in favor of the education jobs earmark should have verified state needs before they devoted billions of federal dollars to an exaggerated problem.

    Posted in Education [slideshow_deploy]

    15 Responses to Senators Exaggerate Number of Teachers’ Jobs in Jeopardy

    1. DanJ1, Suburban Detr says:

      This money was so immediately necessary that the legislators had to rush back during break to pass it. Now we find out that only a fraction of it if any was really necessary at all.

      The Democrats seem to have to vote for wasteful spending bills and rediculous legislation late on Friday afternoon, in the middle of the night, on weekends and now on vacation. Does anybody else notice the pattern.

    2. Billie says:

      Can it be called extortion? Yes. Plenty of patterns.

      Seems another admittance of governments' failure to handle the necessary duties to implement proper standard education to the public youth, within a budget. Yet, in the last 8 yrs and presently, demand and get more tax dollars every year since. Students of America don't deserve to be led by mis-leadership and greed. that money is for their education.

      For all the good teachers in public education, move to the private, you'll be better rewarded as will America's youth. Education belongs to the private sector where it works for the benefit of the child. Where you can tell the teacher (or union controlling teacher) isn't working for the greed of money, but for the better education of America's youth. God Bless!

    3. MJF, CT says:

      The Congress and Senate have been lying to America for years. The People are just waking up and realizing this. Conservatives have known this for years!

    4. Bill, Kansas City, M says:

      We need to demand term limits for Congress.

    5. Donna says:

      This vote was nothing more than a favor from the Dems to the teachers union done on the backs of the tax payers. I am sure the Dems will need to funding from the unions if they have any hopes come Nov. Don't you just love it when our politicians use your hard working dollars to buy votes and donations and we wonder what is wrong with our government. This must end in November or the US that I was raised in will be gone forever.

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    7. Lloyd Scallan (New O says:

      Dose the HF feel it's reporting anything new? Anyone over the age of 2 should knows by this point in time that this Obama led, Democrat Congress lies and distorts. They are not to be trusted for any reason.Once again, they have sworn they will do or say anything to achive Obama's agenda to destroy our economical system and replace it with socialism. This is just one more nail

      in our coffin.

    8. Gray says:

      Nice Post…… Thanks G @ Jobs Liverpool.net

    9. Slick - Nebraska says:

      (Big Yawn) . . . so what is new??? This has to be the 5000th time this has happened in the last 18 months, and those guys are STILL on a roll.

      If something doesn't "change" in November, you better button down the hatches because there is going to be a major eruption in America, the likes of which have not been seen since the Civil War!

      You can only get so much blood from a turnip!

    10. Drew Page, IL says:

      Senators exaggerating? Come on, you can't mean that.

    11. Rick says:

      My wife is an unemployed, out-of-work teacher trying to find employment in a new state.

      If all of the money allocated for "saving" teachers' jobs is not used for THAT purpose, state legislators should be pulled into Federal court and charged with mismanagement of funds and violation of Federal law.

      If there is money NOT spent for its intended purpose within six months, it should be returned to the Treasury, and should NOT be recycled for other wonderful causes by the TARP-addicted geniuses who now run the White House.

    12. Don Mitchel says:

      Jobs,cost, going green,!!!!!!!!! Do the American people not realize we are letting mainly foreign ships use our shipping lanes to pollute our waters trough ballast dumping and a carbon footprint, while they bring foreign manufactured goods into our country putting Americans out of work? Do they not realize that the cost of imports would rise with action by the Senate, to overcome Senator Boxers state rights objection to the legislation passed in the house 395-7 in 2008 for the change we needed to make America more cost competative manufactures. Do they not realize that the longer we wait, the edge we could have, is disapearing as foreign ships scramble, towards new technologies? The Senate through their lack of action is helping to destroy our environment and economy at the same time, as this obvious delay, benefits only economic globalization, over economic Americanization. Do the American people not realize in these though economic times States are being put in economic competition with each other, having to spend vast amounts of money to protect their waters against an international organization of primarily foreign economic interest, because of lack of national ballast water legislation? Dose President Obama care about any of this, since he has not bothered to address the states rights issues of just one Senator Boxer who held up the house legislation passed for the change we needed in 2008 to protect our environment and our jobs. Or as commander and chief dose he believe America can aford to wait for his purposed two decade military plan to start with yet another study for 14 months while many American suffer?

    13. Krankankor, Central says:

      I disagree with the word "exaggerates" in the title of the article. It is bald-face lying and is now the bedrock policy of the Obama administration. My policy is believe nothing they tell us and before I'll vote for another candidate I want written, signed statements covering what he/she will and will not vote for if elected.

      Trust government is a concept whose time has expired.

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    15. Paula, East Bay, San says:

      'Want to know what it is like to teach in a California Bay Area public school now? Most of the classrooms have 40 students. Their backpacks rest on the floor by their desks making it dangerous for anyone to walk by. Healthy sized teachers cannot walk through the narrow rows of desks to help students. It takes a teacher at least ten minutes to call out roll in each classroom because there are so many students. Having more students also means that the teacher has more papers to check at night. Most classrooms have only one door to exit in an emergency. Can you imagine the stampede of students squeezing out the door in an earthquake?

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