On Wednesday, Congress is scheduled to vote on an economic stimulus plan that “will shower school districts, child care centers and university campuses with $150 billion in new federal funds over two years.” The budget of the Department of Education will more than double.
How will your school district benefit? Are the long-term consequences of the stimulus package positive or negative?
Stimulus Plan Will Provide About $150 Billion to Education Over Two Years
The funds will affect nearly every component of the educational system — school construction and renovation, Title I programs, special education, Head Start, and Pell grants for college students.
The No Child Left Behind Act and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) would receive $26 billion in new spending.
This $150 billion does not include the $79 billion in State Stabilization Funds allocated by Congress for FYs 2009 and 2010. Sources: New York Times (1/28/09), Washington Post (1/29/09)
How Much $$ Will Your District Receive?
The Congressional Research Service (CRS) put together a list of projected allocations for each school district from appropriations proposed in the House stimulus bill. To learn how your school district will fare, see the state-by-state breakdowns of the estimated allocations for the school districts in each state.
Pros and Cons: Disagreements about Benefits
According to Education Secretary Arne Duncan, “This is going to avert literally hundreds of thousands of teacher layoffs.”
Representative George Miller, chairman of the House Education Committee, said, “We cannot let education collapse; we have to provide this level of support to schools.”
Many Republicans criticized some proposals as “wasteful spending and an ill-considered expansion of the federal government’s role.”
Education experts across the political spectrum are asking questions:
- how can school districts spend so many new billions so fast?
- will this outpouring of dollars lead to higher student achievement?
- what will happen in two years when the stimulus money ends?
Stimulus Plan Would Provide Flood of Aid to Education by Sam Dillon, NYT, January 27, 2009)
The New America Foundation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy institute that monitors education spending reports that the formula does not effectively allocate the most money to states with the greatest need.
“Stimulus funding does not take into account districts with large special education and English language learner populations. These districts with the socially and academically neediest students will benefit the most from the infusion of additional federal dollars.” First Look at Stimulus Spending.
What do you think? Is this massive infusion of funds to schools a good idea? Will these funds improve educational outcomes? What will happen in 2010 when the funding provisions end?
Note: These data are estimates based on the House stimulus bill. The Senate bill is still under consideration.