The managing editor of Budget & Tax News says no money for education should have been included in the recently signed economic "stimulus" bill.
In a recent press conference, Education Secretary Arne Duncan warned that if the economic stimulus bill did not pass, up to 600,000 education workers could lose their jobs as states face enormous budget shortfalls. But Steve Stanek of The Heartland Institute argues that the bill should not have included the allotted $87 billion for education.
Stanek argues that the stimulus basically amounts to a payoff for teachers and teachers unions who supported Obama.
"The teachers unions are extremely powerful at the local and state levels -- and certainly at the federal level," Stanek acknowledges. "You can look at the money that [the Democratic Party] receives from the teachers unions and it's enormous! And they are not fans of meaningful reform in education."
According to an Associated Press report, $39 billion is going towards K-12 and higher education, $8 billion is to be used in upgrading existing schools, $4 billion will be used for Head Start and Early Head Start programs, and $25 billion will be used to bolster No Child Left Behind. Stanek has little positive to say about George W. Bush's signature education program.
"I did not like No Child Left Behind. I think it's a huge intrusion of the federal government into what ought to be local and state issues," he shares. "It's a way for the federal government to simply grab more power, and I think another $25 billion is just $25 billion more power the federal government is going to have over public school education."
Stanek contends that lawmakers in Washington, DC, used the economic downturn as an excuse to throw more money at education. He notes that in the last decade the U.S. has only seen a nine-percent increase in student enrollment, but a 22-percent increase in the number of teachers and administrators in K-12 education.