Thursday, January 29, 2009

how much of the $ 142 billion do i get?

according to usa today and other news outlets, education's part of the stimulus bill racks up @ 142 $ billion dollars. that is, according to some, the most money education has ever received from the federal government. i think it is about time. anyone who spends any time in the education world knows that american teachers and schools have been trying to get by on shoe string budgets and bake sales for far too long.
i read somewhere (i think in tom freidman's book, the world is flat)that ibm's research and development budget was bigger than the federal government's budget for education. one company. education has been getting the shaft for a long time because schools are normally funded by local taxes which are controlled by local county commissioners or school boards or state officials. these politicians rightly worry about being reelected if they raise taxes. therefore, schools often function on shoe strings. the school that i taught at last year could not have remained in operation if someone would have taken the drink machines out of the hallways. that's how far funding has fallen for schools.
while i am certainly happy to see education receiving some influx of funds from the stimulus package, it might be too little too late. american students keep falling further and further behind students in other countries when comparisons are made. no serious push has been made to invest in educational technology or infrastructure. no serious push has been made to attract the best and the brightest into the teaching profession and really, those few that do happen to enter the profession are usually gone within a few years. (you mean i'm successful so you put more of the struggling kids in my class? thanks but no thanks.)
i guess i'm being overly cynical today. the money is needed and has been needed and education still needs more. the flattening of the world and the increased competition for jobs and skills and lifelong learning demand more. our future demands more and our children demand more.
that is all. i will now step down (briefly) from the soap box.

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