EDU-torial: Is Stimulus Money Saving the Educational System?

This is an EDU-torial by Mike Davidson: Mike is currently a graduate student at New York University working toward his Masters Degree. His recent experiences through most levels of education drive his beliefs and hopes for education reform.

As President Obama doles out billions from the pockets of taxpayers and eventually their children, there needs to be some concrete measure that the stimulus plan is actually working to save jobs and get the country back on its feet. As far as education goes, the Obama administration claims that it has saved over 250,000 educator jobs in the past year.

The spending has been shown by many states to stabilize the balance sheets and budgets of hundreds of school districts. The schools then report their expenditures back to their state so the government knows where the money goes. So far, it has been reported by schools that the Tampa Bay area alone saved 2,800 education jobs due to the stimulus money. 6,000 out of the 62,000 education jobs saved in California were saved in Los Angeles. 2,600 were saved in Utah, 8,500 and 5,900 in Missouri and Minnesota respectively and 14,500 were saved in Michigan. These findings should be music to the public’s ears especially those citizens in public colleges and those with children because teachers impact their lives on a daily basis.

Unfortunately these numbers aren’t all what they seem. Although the numbers are impressive, the term “saved jobs” is quite broad. Many teachers around the country have kept their jobs because of the stimulus, but their benefits and wages continue to decline while their class sizes grow. The quality of compensation was not evaluated in the survey of “saved” educational jobs. What’s more concerning is the lack of mention of how many teaching jobs were lost in spite of all of the stimulus money.

Since it is not entirely possible to know exactly how many jobs were “saved,” these numbers are an estimate on the positive effects of the stimulus bill on the realm of education by preventing layoffs. But it is a poor estimate of the bill’s effect for the individuals of the educational system. The stimulus money is only a band-aid for the American educational system, and a flimsy band-aid at that.