Posts Tagged: teacher layoffs

Obama and teacher layoffs

Illinois has seen widespread teacher layoffs, reports the Chicago Sun-Times Rosalind Rossi — in spite of billions of dollars coming from Washington. The Obama administration did spend some resources to prevent teacher layoffs, but they also had their eyes on long-term education reform.

Rossi relates the numbers:  2,102 Illinois teaching jobs were cut as of September 2010, not including another 554 teaching jobs lost in Chicago alone, according to the Chicago Teacher’s Union. (more…)

What does Illinois get from Washington’s money?

The House interrupted its August recess yesterday to pass a bill that provides $26 billion in aid to state governments that are trying to balance their budgets. About $16 billion of this money goes to helping states make Medicaid payments and $10 million goes to education, namely preventing further layoffs of teachers. Illinois will get (more…)

The Misleading “Created or Saved” Stimulus Job

The Washington Post’s Nick Anderson relays a pretty lame report by the Dept. of Education about how many education jobs have been saved or retained by the stimulus bill. The answer to that trivia question is the nice, impressive looking number of about 250,000. But the number doesn’t include how many education jobs have been lost due to the recession and subsequent budget crises in almost every state. For example, Illinois spent hundreds of millions in stimulus education money and, in the process, prevented the layoffs of hundreds of teachers. But the stimulus money hasn’t been enough: while hundreds of decent teachers were able to keep their jobs hundreds of decent teachers were laid off.

Such is the story of the stimulus overall: the stimulus has worked to create and save jobs but it simply wasn’t big enough to reverse the trend of rising unemployment.


Apropos of my back-to-school extravaganza on teacher merit pay, the New York Times’ Sam Dillon takes a look today at teacher layoffs around the country. Dillon can’t give figures on how many teachers have been laid off in the past year, but a clear pattern emerges: State X can’t generate any revenue in the recession. So they lay off, say, 1,000 teachers. Then State X taps into stimulus money and re-hires, say, 700 teachers they’ve just laid off.

One issue here is whether the stimulus should have been big enough to prevent all teacher layoffs or whether the most sensible policy is really the status quo that just makes the layoffs less severe. Related is something I wrote about in the merit pay piece: the Education Dept. got $115 billion from the stimulus bill — more than twice its yearly budget. But a significant amount of that money is not just formula funding so states can deal with budget shortfalls. Billions, instead, are in competitive grants awarded to states whose education policy goals (more charter schools, strict evaluations of teachers) are in line with Barack Obama and Education Sec. Arne Duncan.

I’m ambivalent about how this allocation of education stimulus money is a good idea. On the one hand, if the federal Education Dept. thinks these state education departments are currently not very effective than maybe they’re right to use the stimulus to make these states change, instead of just blindly comping the status quo. But the fiscal crisis might not be the best time for innovation at a state level. Can school districts implement splashy new policies when these same districts are looking for coins under couches to keep band programs and 5th grade art teachers?-MB