The House of Representatives bravely dragged themselves back to Capitol Hill from their traditional six weeks of stateside work-cation to lock down teachers union votes for November's elections today. The Senate had already passed a version of the $26 billion jobs bill, which includes $10 billion in grants to districts to keep up to 130,000 education jobs on life support. Where are they coming up with the money? At some point in the future, they're going to pay for part of it by cutting food stamps. (Which makes my ridiculous headline really kind of true.)
The prospect of starting school a few teachers down can be unnerving in any district, but funding an increasing portion of teachers' salaries from federal coffers isn't doing anyone any favors in the long run. This additional infusion of cash from Washington—teachers were also some of the biggest beneficiaries of stimulus spending—undermines state control of education and staves off much-needed reforms (and firings) at the state, district, and school level.
But now congressmen are hopping planes, trains, and automobiles to get back on the stump, their faced flushed with that special glow that can only come from spending other people's money for personal gain. Obama is expected to sign the bill shortly. And he has signed it already-SP