As pundits parse
the policy shifts revealed in the domestic-focused
State of the Union, many have questions about the president's stance on education. Education spending is exempt from the domestic spending freeze
, but some commentators fear funding to school districts will decline. Others debate where and how
money should be distributed, as the administration enforces fiscal
discipline. Here are both liberal and conservative evaluations of the
Obama education plan as we begin 2010:
- SOTU Generally Good on Education, decides Chester Finn
at the conservative National Review, who likes the "main themes" of
Obama's State of the Union, including "us[ing] federal education
dollars to reward success, not failure" and keeping "a 'competitive"
element in this, rather than simply distributing dollars via formula."
Finn also notes that education will be exempted from the domestic
- Despite Freeze Exemption, Education Money Decreasing At The Quick and the Ed, Rob Manwaring
starts breaking down numbers and comes to an interesting conclusion:
the planned increase in baseline education spending won't be enough to
make up for the expiration of the past year's one-off stimulus spending
on education. "For [some] districts, $12.5 billion in lower federal
funding (end of
Title I and special education stimulus funds) plus $4 billion in new
federal funding may not feel like a federal budget that they will be
- All As It Should Be, But Not Enough, thinks Think Progress's Matthew Yglesias. "The
stimulus should be for the purposes of temporary stimulus and
not used to confuse the baseline issue." Still, he adds, though the
"right thing is being done here ... it's all arguably being done at too
low a level.The stimulus was too small to begin with, and consequently weak
economic conditions are going to persist into FY 2011 (it starts in
October) so the pivot toward spending discipline looks to be timed
- Not As It Should Be--Ditch Head Start If the Obama administration is looking for fiscal discipline, Andrew Coulson wishes they'd begin with Head Start. In the New York Post, Coulson points to a new study showing that Head Start, "the most sacrosanct federal education program, doesn't work." Yet instead administration officials are looking to raise Head Start funding. Coulson would rather see the money spent on a
program that pays private-school tuition for poor DC families," which
"has been shown to raise students' reading performance by
more than two grade levels after just three years."
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