On Bills And Bars

Who among us could argue that Rick Hess doesn’t know about bars at closing time?

14 Replies to “On Bills And Bars”

  1. That bar’s looking good. At least the alcoholic at that bar with an extra hour would have a goal in mind. Lots of money with no plan, no vision of what to do with the money, no guidelines for doing it, no accountability, and no data to support decisions! We learned so much from how the banks managed their cut of the first pie that we’re going to do it some more, but with schools. Sheer waste. If we want to increase the fed role in ed, wouldn’t it be better to have some acknoweldged and thought-through idea of how and why and to what end?

  2. No quibbles about Rick.

    But I’m sorry. Am I missing something? How is the infusion of new federal resources for schools in the stimulus bill going to transform the federal government’s role in education? I just don’t see it.

    Hey, $150 billion is nothing to sneeze at. But it still represents a fraction of overall education spending. According to the U.S. Department of Education, federal dollars currently account for less than 9 percent of overall education spending. State and local dollars account for more than 80 percent of the total. Even with a doubling of federal outlays, Uncle Sam would still account for less than 1 in 5 dollars spent on schools.

    Short of the inclusion of some major new education policy in this stimulus bill (which won’t happen) – following some of Ed Sector’s recommendations, for example – how is this piece of legislation going to “profoundly change” the federal role in education? Answer: Apart from coughing up some new federal resources at a time of need, it’s not. It won’t fundamentally change the business of teaching and learning without further legislative and policy changes. We still await action on ESEA reauthorization – the next best hope for positive changes and needed reforms to current federal law.

    Saying something represents change doesn’t make it so.

  3. $150 billion buys a lot of SmartBoards. And everyone knows SmartBoards make teaching more effective. Oh, and laptops too. And let’s not forget “clickers”.

    Then there are some fairly good math programs out there, which would costs the schools substantially less money than, say, the programs like Investigations in Number,Data and Space, or Everyday Math (which require new workbooks–consumables–to be purchased new every year), and which actually teach math. The costs of professional development for such programs would be less also.

    Sorry to be so out of line with current Washington-consensus thinking.

  4. Has USDOE considered: $150 billion instead to a 2-year period of really great school lunch with table service for all the kids?

    When the economy picks up, the waitresses and short order cooks go back to real restaurant customers, and the kids talk about the golden days of 2010 cafeteria.

    Maybe IES could do this as a randomized trial. Half of nation gets the current stimulus. Other half has all kids eating pad thai, chicken caesar salad, and turkey club with real bacon. Measure value-add student gains, particularly in afternoon classes….

  5. As the costs of education rise, so goes the expense per child. I have no problem with the federal government spending money on education, what I have a problem is with Universities wanting to expand as a part of the stimulus package, then raising the tuition because they have built new dorms. The economic stimulus is for construction per say, but I Universities should have managed their own budget’s with expansion in mind and not rely on Federal Tax dollars to in turn charge the tax payer more.

  6. I also have no problem with the federal government becoming more involved with education. Yet to double its financial involvement without significant debate, I do have a problem with. The more the federal government spends on education the more local schools and districts become beholden to the federal government rather than citizens in those states and localities. While this might be a wise direction to take we need a national conversation before rush into such a different direction in American Education.

  7. Jane,

    You are so right, and I am so not with it. I’ve got to shift my paradigms and get with the program.

  8. Thank you for that, John.

    As to better & cheaper math programs, well those are out of the question, now, aren’t they?

    If schools began implementing Saxon Math willy nilly – or Singapore Math, heaven forbid – a lot of dedicated instructional coaches and K-5 math specialists would have to find another line of work, and in the middle of a 21st century global world financial panic, too.

    We can’t have that.

    And we won’t.

  9. Jane,

    Right again, as usual. The solution isn’t spend less, spend smarter. The solution is to build bigger schools with up-to-date equipment so that there’s a nicer environment in which education can continue to fail.

  10. But it’s really an infusion of much more money when you do the math.

    First they let states retreat to their 2006 Maintenance of Effort level, at least a $22 billion reduction in spending. This eats up the increases for Title I and IDEA.

    Then on the State block grant, they let the states waive maintenance of effort and supplement, not supplant provisions, so there is no requirement that there be any net increase in spending.

    You can bet your bottom dollar, or Rick’s bar tab, that states will gleefully supplant their own spending with the federal infusion.

    So outside of the construction money, there’s no new spending here for all that cash.

  11. I work at for a district that currently has a plan to cut back $3 million in spending over the next 3 years. I teach a group of students with special needs, and we have no textbooks. The new “curtailment plan” states that textbooks will not be purchased for the next three years.
    Several weeks ago, our boiler shut down in the high school. We were out of school for 3 days because when the main boiler was fixed and water began running through the lines again, it met up with water that had frozen in the lines and we had leaks. Water ran down the stairways, through the ceilings, and into lockers. We are still missing ceiling tiles, and my classroom is running on space heaters because they haven’t been able to get our unit fixed yet.
    I cannot claim to be a political expert, but I can claim to be passionate about educating children. I know that if things stay the way they are, many children will lose the education that they have a right to. At this point, I do not care where the money comes from, but I do know that something must change.

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