President Obama’s “American Jobs Act” – part of the $477 billion legislative package he proposed to Congress Thursday night – includes $30 billion in new funds to prevent more teacher layoffs and another $25 billion in school construction money that could help rebuild 35,000 schools.
Sounds great. But is it too good to be true? Afraid so, writes Alison Klein in Education Week’s Politics K-12 blog:
“There’s almost no chance that Republicans—who generally think the $100 billion for education in the stimulus was a giant waste of money—will rush to support this,” Klein writes. “Remember, the administration had a very tough time getting Congress to approve $10 billion for the Education Jobs Fund back in the summer of 2010, when Democrats had healthy majorities in both chambers.”
For a simpler, graphic representation of the above analysis, see Tom Toles’ cartoon Friday in the Washington Post.
But do schools really need that $25 billion in construction funds. Well……yes, writes the Post’s Valerie Strauss. She notes that decades of research have shown a link between the condition of buildings and student health, attendance, teacher recruitment, and, most critically, student achievement.
Speaking of student achievement, read Peg Tyre’s critique of standardized testing on Freakonomics. (Thanks to This Week in Education for highlighting it.) You no doubt have heard a lot of arguments against standardized tests, but Tyre’s is the most unique — and intriguing — that I’ve read in recent months.
Of course, there’s another side. And that’s part of what makes education policy so interesting and, sometimes, maddening. For a positive reassessment of testing, see “Putting Myself to the Test,” by Ama Nyamekye, in Edweek.