Education Roundup: What's the Stimulus Doing For Schools?

| Thu Feb. 17, 2011 7:00 AM EST
  • 2012's budget proposal is in, and President Obama is pushing for $77.4 billion to go to education, reports The New York Times. The GOP? Not so much. If some conservatives have their way, the Head Start program can wave goodbye to $1.1 billion, meaning services for more than 200,000 children and the jobs of more than 50,000 Head Start employees will get eliminated. What's the GOP's rationale for proposing such harsh education cuts? "Throwing more money at our nation's broken education system ignores reality and does a disservice to students and taxpayers," Rep. John Kline (R-Minn.) told the NY Times. "Over the last 45 years we have increased our investment in education, but the return on that investment has failed to improve student achievement."
  • That's not entirely true. American schools are actually better than they were 50 years ago, writes MoJo's Kevin Drum, citing scores in a recent report by the Brookings Institute. Sure, when compared to kids in other advanced countries, US students aren't exactly making the international honor roll, but they're still beating the country's personal average in the First International Mathematics Study. That's a boost, right?
  • Via Washington Post's Valerie Strauss, veteran teachers laid out their problems with Teach for America's focus on test scores and two-year teaching commitments, prompting educator Nancy Flanagan to ask why teachers who choose to work in classrooms for the long haul don't receive the same amount of recruitment, training, and on-site support as TFA.
  • Last but not least, parents in Mansfield, Texas made news by pushing their school district to turn down (indefinitely) a $1.3 billion federal grant that would have provided an Arabic language course in schools. MoJo's Tim Murphy covers the reasoning behind the hysteria, while Texas Insider's Dan Flynn writes the course will "sensitize" children to a different culture.
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