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Appropriations confusion

By Dylan Matthews

You already saw this if you read Wonkbook, but David Rogers's story of how a $23 billion emergency funding package to save teachers' jobs got sunk in the Senate is remarkable:

A $23 billion emergency proposal to forestall threatened layoffs of public school teachers is now a likely casualty of this approach. In a letter to Democratic leaders May 13, Education Secretary Arne Duncan endorsed the funding, urging Congress to add the money to a pending war funding bill in the Senate. But the White House never forwarded a budget request and was conspicuously silent on the whole teachers funding issue when it issued its endorsement of the underlying $58.8 billion bill this week.

Tom Harkin ended up not even trying to attach the package to the Senate bill; a frustrated Dave Obey will try to make up for this in the House. While it's easy to view things like this as simple incompetence on the administration's part, they're also in some sense inevitable. Congress is juggling an unusually large number of priorities now, from FinReg to "don't ask, don't tell" to war spending, that it's not too surprising one, even a relatively uncontroversial one like this, could get lost in the shuffle. That kind of clogging probably wouldn't happen if universal filibustering didn't make time in the Senate so precious, and limit the House's time as well by making it work around Senate obstruction.

-- Dylan Matthews is a student at Harvard and a researcher at The Washington Post.

By Kendra Nichols  |  May 26, 2010; 12:00 PM ET
 
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Comments

Pretty impressive work finding a way for you to blame this on the Republicans. Some doubted that you would be able to pull off such a feat but you were able to overcome!

Posted by: spotatl | May 26, 2010 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Maybe Harkin isn't a idiot? Why should they attach a state bailout scam to a war funding bill?

Posted by: obrier2 | May 26, 2010 12:37 PM | Report abuse

It's pretty obvious that the administration did not support this appropriation because they do not support public school teachers.

Posted by: frenzic40 | May 26, 2010 12:37 PM | Report abuse

There's no such word as FinReg, DylMat.

Makes you look illiterate.

Posted by: pj_camp | May 26, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

oh please stop it. they're not saving their jobs, they're saving their gold plated pensions. Let's at least be honest about it, OK?

If teachers wanted to they could save their jobs but groups like the NJEA in my home state are still spending money like mad trying to blame Governor Christie. All the while you have older, tenured teachers voting and pushing against state reforms (more than willing to cut their younger teachers off at the knees to save their gold plated benefits) while the younger teachers are more than willing to be as reasonable as the times warrant.


Its also amazing to me that when Republicans were in power when they tried and did attach bills that had absolutely nothing to do with the main bill they got
shelled for it by the liberal media but it gets glossed over by Mr. Matthews.

Posted by: visionbrkr | May 26, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Spending cuts by state and local governments in the aggregate have more than offset the amount of the federal stimulus. The budget shortfall and resulting cutbacks at the state levels comprise one of the primary reasons why unemployment is still so high and why the economy and the job market will recover slowly.

visionbrkr, schools all over the country are laying off teachers and other public school employees. State funding of higher education is also in crisis. The problem is not about "gold-plated pensions" or union campaigning. The total compensation package for a teacher with a master's degree and many years of experience is lower than the starting salary of the average garbage worker.

spotatl, try reading the posts before putting up your idiotic pre-fab troll commentary. Republicans are not blamed (or even mentioned) in this post. The Obama administration is blamed for failing to support its own Secretary of Education's proposal.

Posted by: Patrick_M | May 26, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Yes, we mustn't lay off any teachers so that we can have more Dylan Matthewes grow up to tell us we mustn't lay off any teachers.

Or, the government could get out of the education business and leave individuals free to hire and fire teachers according to their own lights, relegating the hand wringing busy body Dylan Matthewes off in the whiny margins of their own choosing.

Posted by: msoja | May 26, 2010 2:34 PM | Report abuse

--"The total compensation package for a teacher with a master's degree and many years of experience is lower than the starting salary of the average garbage worker."--

That sounds about right to me. I know which one I value more, and I haul my own garbage to the dump.

And if you look at the scores today's students are generating you really have to wonder about the legitimacy of that "master's degree" and the return on investment even at the supposedly low "starting salary".

I've said it before, we could abolish the entire government school system, and student learning would hardly suffer.

Posted by: msoja | May 26, 2010 2:40 PM | Report abuse

msoja,

Your anarchist utopia awaits you in either of two societies: Yemen and Somalia. You can haul your own garbage to the dump and never be taxed to support public schools. Nirvana.

Why do you persist in living in a society that does not share your values, and whining about socialist institutions as public education? Live your values. Live the dream. Planes are departing from the USA every day, so buy yourself a ticket and leave all of your worries behind.

See what good company you keep, visionbrkr?

Posted by: Patrick_M | May 26, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Patrick,

I'm sorry but in NJ its mostly about gold plated pensions.


See below. You know I'm all for corporations not being able to influence debate but you also need to be for unions to not step over the lines in that regard too.

http://www.pressofatlanticcity.com/news/top_three/article_a28d9fd6-5be5-11df-9d83-001cc4c03286.html

Its not just teachers but administrators too. I've linked to plenty of stories in NJ over the last 6 months where administrators and superintendents are raping their districts of funding through their excessive salaries, egregious use of sick days and gold plated pensions. See below for a district near me.

http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2010/04/fbi_raids_ocean_county_school.html


This lovely fellow has a wife in Florida and a girlfriend here in NJ who runs the snack stand at the the local school board office and gets paid $80k per year to do that. I'm sure that's not all either. This man SHOULD be in jail now but he's still being paid pending an investigation.


I'm all for keeping teachers but and I'd rather not have cuts but when you've got people like him stealing from the system then there's only so high property taxes can go.

oh and then there's the lovely bus drivers in NYC. Saw a report yesterday that if they get spit on they take 2 months paid leave.

PLEASE SOMEONE SPIT ON ME!!

Posted by: visionbrkr | May 26, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

See what good company you keep, visionbrkr?

Posted by: Patrick_M | May 26, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse


Patrick,

so there's only black and white, no gray? Are there not progressives that go over the line (FIREDOGLAKE!!!)


hmm. seems like I could say the same thing. Oh and i've never ever though that Obama was the anti-Christ ;-)

Posted by: visionbrkr | May 26, 2010 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Patrick_M: It's the Harvard boy doing the whining. I just pointed out that in a free market teachers aren't worth as much as garbage collectors, because teaching requires fewer skills, and isn't nearly as essential to a functioning society.

The fact is, teachers are riding a gravy train in this country, and are failing to deliver that which they are charged to deliver, across the board.

You can pretend I'm against the utter, indisputable failure of the government sector because I believe in some kind of radical chaotic anarchy, but it's just another deflection and lie. To posit that the U.S. would descend into chaos and anarchy because we privated the school system is nonsense. But that's where you're coming from, and lord knows why.

Posted by: msoja | May 26, 2010 3:17 PM | Report abuse

visionbrkr,

Unions in New Jersey are very strong, I will not argue that point. But if the state of NJ provides overly generous pensions, that is an issue to be resolved by the elected representatives of the people in New Jersey. Should we decide all national questions based upon the circumstances in any single state?

In my state, teachers have no pensions. They are offered a typical retirement plan with matching contributions from the employer. The amounts contributed by the employer to teachers' health insurance are actually well below the everage benefit from a typical large private employer, and unions have increasingly less leverage every time they bargain for a new contract.

Whether you live in a state with generous or stingy benefits for public school teachers, budgets are being cut, teachers are being laid off, and students end up in larger classes with less individual attention. I can't think of any better investment with stimulus dollars than a relatively modest investment to prevent layoffs of public school teachers.

Posted by: Patrick_M | May 26, 2010 3:24 PM | Report abuse

msoja,

actually have you seen those robotic garbage collectors. Sorry but you're wrong. Many teachers (and in turn students) are failing but that's normally not from a lack of expertise, skill, work ethic etc. I do agree that schools are a wasteland of excess that needs to be trimmed back to cut spending but its not that easy being a teacher. Most of the problem starts at home where parents are too lazy to work with their kids outside of the school leaning back and saying that they pay "X" in taxes so why should I work with my kids, that's the teachers job. I've heard that way too many times that i want to smack the parents and say "Listen idiot, its your kid."

Posted by: visionbrkr | May 26, 2010 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Anyone remember the Central Falls, Rhode Island, fire the teachers storm?

http://www.projo.com/education/content/central_falls_teachers.1_02-13-10_A8HEI7Q_v61.3a65218.html

A little factoid from near the bottom of that story:

"Test scores remain a problem at Central Falls High School as only 3 percent of 11th graders are proficient in math in 2008 and 7 percent in 2009."

I contend that one could abolish that entire school system and individual math achievement would improve in following years. It certainly couldn't get any worse. You could take the whole stupid government edifice away, let people keep their own money, fund their kids' educations to the best of their abilities and druthers, and there is no way that overall education would not improve. And probably substantially.

But that's the rot infesting America, now. It's killing the place, and lacklusters like Harvard boy and Patrick_M can only mouth the government provided platitudes.

Too bad.

Posted by: msoja | May 26, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

visionbrkr: It's easy being a teacher when you're not forced to teach people who have no interest in learning anything. The whole compulsive education thing is a waste. In fact, our modern schools do more to *corrupt* than to teach, and it's only getting worse.

But, of course, the "country" is more worried about teacher pay, teacher pensions, union influence, and all the associated garbage, than it is about making smart children.

Does Harvard boy have a clue as to how short changed he is? He's not even out of school, and already he's a government toady, writing propaganda for a government propaganda rag. Disgusting.

Posted by: msoja | May 26, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse

"You can pretend I'm against the utter, indisputable failure of the government sector because I believe in some kind of radical chaotic anarchy, but it's just another deflection and lie. To posit that the U.S. would descend into chaos and anarchy because we privated the school system is nonsense. But that's where you're coming from, and lord knows why."

msoja, you are the one who is engaging in deflection now, by pretending you are anything other than an anarchist (you just don't believe that anarchy need be "chaotic" or that it is necessarily "radical"...).

Every post on every subject that you present on this blog is an argument against the government taking a role in anything. You consider all taxation as coercive. "Lord" knows you are anti-government, regular readers of the blog know that you are anti-government, and you know it too.

"...teachers aren't worth as much as garbage collectors, because teaching requires fewer skills, and isn't nearly as essential to a functioning society."

Teachers certainly played no role in forming your self-centered anarchist thought processes, but the rest of us respect their skills and hard work. All education is private in Yemen and Somalia, so please do not hesitate to buy a one way ticket.

Posted by: Patrick_M | May 26, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Patrick,

no we absolutely should not answer national questions based upon a single state but it absolutely happens.

How do you think they're eventually going to come up with a basis for the platinum, gold, silver, bronze plans in the healthcare exchanges? They're going to have to come up with a plan that will end up upsetting liberal states like mine who have generous benefit requirements now. I'd expect our requirement for coverage for autism is going to be out the window due to cost. Or will lobbying efforts from groups like SOCREI who helped to get NJ to require infertility take hold? That's an upcoming fight to take place in healthcare and if you think lobbying was strong now wait until that starts being reviewed.

Listen, I'm 100% for all teachers getting what they deserve and for no layoffs of teachers but at some point the liberal media and the NJEA for example need to be honest about what is being spent. Teachers should be last on the chopping block and I'd personally increase my taxes to keep my kids teachers intact but at some point enough is enough. Remember I pay about 40-50% of my income in taxes with my bracket and my state. The NJEA takes in 100 million a year and don't do nearly that much good with that money IMO.

Posted by: visionbrkr | May 26, 2010 3:41 PM | Report abuse

to that end about not answering national questions I've screamed for months around here that this wonderful small business tax credit won't affect NJ residents at all. Well maybe 1% or so. They should adjusted the credit for cost of living but they didn't. And all the while the administration plays it up like its this wonderful thing that most everyone will get. Truth in advertising please!!

Posted by: visionbrkr | May 26, 2010 3:51 PM | Report abuse

--"You consider all taxation as coercive."--

If I were free to consider it any other way, then perhaps I would, but the fact that I can buy anything, or earn anything, or sell anything without the government forcing me to turn over some portion of income or proceeds, kind of gives the word "coercive" a certain inescapable meaning.

You, I suppose, think of taxation as a butterfly, or something equally beautiful and lovely.

Posted by: msoja | May 26, 2010 4:05 PM | Report abuse

can't, of course.

Posted by: msoja | May 26, 2010 4:08 PM | Report abuse

visionbrkr,

I hear you about the small business tax credit and other disparate outcomes in HCR, and I hear you about 2 month leaves for bus drivers when someone spits on them. I also hear you that in New Jersey teachers and public school teachers may have overly generous benefit packages.

Having conceded those things, I remain of the opinion that appropriating money to help school districts around the country avoid laying off teachers is a worthy expenditure, and that where there may be "gold-plated" pensions or other problems in local education budgets, the people of that state need to fix that local problem through pressure on their elected reprentatives.

Arne Duncan's funding idea neither creates nor resolves New Jersey's policy problems, and it should be evaluated on its national implications. I don't derive any benefit from "volcano monitoring" where I live, but I support the fact that disaster preparedness within America makes it a good idea to monitor our volcanoes, nation-wide.

I rarely agree with anyone at Firedoglake, but I think that even they are not as far to the left as our friend msoja is to the right, as his statements about public schooling here have again confirmed.

Anyway, I always appreciate your rationality, and I hope that you knew that my lumping you in with Ezra's resident anarchist was done only in jest.

Posted by: Patrick_M | May 26, 2010 4:11 PM | Report abuse

I rarely agree with anyone at Firedoglake, but I think that even they are not as far to the left as our friend msoja is to the right, as his statements about public schooling here have again confirmed.

Anyway, I always appreciate your rationality, and I hope that you knew that my lumping you in with Ezra's resident anarchist was done only in jest.

Posted by: Patrick_M | May 26, 2010 4:11 PM | Report abuse


Patrick,

I agree with you on our friend Msoja ;-)

I NEVER take anything personally so no problem at all. As i've said many times I have no problem with taking a "haircut" for the greater good. Just so long as everyone takes a proportional haircut.


As far as NJ goes they have been addressing it as Governor Christie has done with his budget. The wealthier districts have gotten the most cut and the poorer ones have gotten the least. Even still the NJEA is attacking him on TV all the time. If they spent that money on reducing their union dues maybe the teachers would be better off. The other thing that bugged me that they did is Governor Christie said that if they simply took a freeze in pay for a year no layoffs in NJ would be necessary. I believe that to be the case because they're likely going to reinstate the "millionaire's tax" (actually the 400k tax). Even still the teachers union balked. While the private sector hemmoraged 8 million jobs in the last 2 years their jobs are not only fine but increasing in pay. I'm sorry but that's wrong and goes against my "proportional haircut" credo.

Posted by: visionbrkr | May 26, 2010 4:35 PM | Report abuse

--"I'm 100% for all teachers getting what they deserve and for no layoffs of teachers"--

That clause makes no sense, and bolting it your further clauses makes even less sense.

What is so sacrosanct about having your kid's teachers be government agents? You only believe in Hope 'n Change when it means more of the same, only with an imaginary or temporary "haircut"? Why are you so afraid of education privatization? It's the government schools that are the disasters. The taxes to pay for them keep rising, contributing to the squeeze in many communities. And the solution is so easy. No huge bureaucracy. No endless squabbles and machinations to get tax proposals on ballots. No fighting over teaching evolution as an established fact or flimsy theory. You pick the school that offers the curriculum you find appealing. And the free market will provide those schools, even for misanthropes like Patrick_M. Good teachers will earn good sums. Lousy teachers will have to find some other area in which to endeavor. And without governmental busybodying. Like magic, only it isn't magic, it's the way people do things when they aren't being coerced nine ways from Sunday.

So, like, what's the problem?

Posted by: msoja | May 26, 2010 5:02 PM | Report abuse

msoja,

I'm fine with charter schools competing with public schools.

I don't see my child's kindergarten teacher as a "government agent" though. that's maybe where I, er you fall off the rails.

The difference between you and I (IMO) is that I know private industry can compete. You get stuck with ideology ala Rand Paul. I love a lot of what Mr Paul says but much of it needs to be doused with reality too.

Posted by: visionbrkr | May 26, 2010 5:19 PM | Report abuse

In the anarchist private school world of msoja, only the wealthy will have access to quality schools that teach actual history, science, etc.

The less well-off will attend less expensive schools where all manner of superstition and brainwashing dogma is taught, since there are no standards for education at all.

The poor will not be able to educate their children at all, thus ensuring a permanent impoverished underclass, without the possibility of opportunity for social mobility.

A university like the dreaded Harvard that has more applicants than spaces will have no means to in compare the performance of individual applicants, since standards no longer exist across schools.

This is how life was during the Dark Ages, and this how life how life is today in Yemen and Somalia.

"Like magic, only it isn't magic, it's the way people do things when they aren't being coerced nine ways from Sunday."

Notice that he does not name any such place where that is the "way people do things."

Posted by: Patrick_M | May 26, 2010 5:48 PM | Report abuse

--"The difference between you and I (IMO) is that I know private industry can compete."--

Funny, I thought I was the one arguing for full privatization of the education system, and you were angling for a "haircut" and no layoffs of government teachers.

Must be my reading comprehension.

For laffs, I just found this, at caliteracy.org, which I think is associated with the state of California:

"Instead of decreasing, the numbers of literacy has steadily increased over the years. This raises a lot of questions about our education system, how it is ran, and why there is such a problem with illiterate people in our country."

http://www.caliteracy.org/rates/

Probably a teacher with a master's degree and years of experience wrote that.

Posted by: msoja | May 26, 2010 6:07 PM | Report abuse

--"The poor will not be able to educate their children at all, thus ensuring a permanent impoverished underclass, without the possibility of opportunity for social mobility."--

You might want to look around, Patrick_M. Your "permanent impoverished underclass" is already here, courtesy of the existing government school system and its sister socialisms. Literacy has been slowly and steadily declining for decades. The welfare state has been just as slowly and steadily growing, and, under the Great and Marvelous Obama, has taken on hideous proportions.

What do you think happened in Greece, Patrick? What do you think is happening in Europe? Do you think the union hordes and the other government hangers on can continue to suck the life out of the economy and that there will be no real, disastrous repercussions?

And again I have to ask why? What is the magic of having a bloated, wasteful bureaucracy paying scores of thousands of dollars a year to people who aren't managing to teach that two plus two equals four?

Even assuming that your dire prediction for education in America were to come true were the government run out of the education business, do you seriously think that Rhode Island wouldn't be able to beat 7% proficiency in math? Without any kind of school system at all? And once the private sector did kick in, why wouldn't math proficiency go much, much higher? It doesn't require a lot of money to teach a kid a little math, and how to read or write. The idea that it does is just nonsense.

Posted by: msoja | May 26, 2010 6:21 PM | Report abuse

"Your "permanent impoverished underclass" is already here, courtesy of the existing government school system and its sister socialisms."

If you have never met anyone that has come from meager means and that has advanced much further in life than their parents, you have an extraordinarily small social circle, but that is not surprising.

And if you don't understand that a free K-12 education (and public assistance to deserving underpriveled students to attend college) has enabled social mobility in this country, your knowledge is very limited, but that is also no surprise.

I am still waiting for you to name the prosperous societies in this world that do not provide a right to public education. None exist, except in your brain-dead pointless anarchist fantasies.

Congratulations on once again dragging a thread off-topic and killing it.

Posted by: Patrick_M | May 26, 2010 6:44 PM | Report abuse

Shouldn't that be "DaskDell" captain FinReg?

Posted by: pj_camp | May 26, 2010 6:55 PM | Report abuse

--"If you have never met anyone that has come from meager means and that has advanced much further in life than their parents, you have an extraordinarily small social circle, but that is not surprising."--

You can do the anecdote thing all day long, Patrick, but it's a cheap trick worthy only of someone who can't make a real argument.

Surely, you can't dispute that the quality of education is declining in the U.S., that more and more students are failing to graduate, even as standards are softened and goals lowered, all the while it is becoming more and more expensive, and, as I said before, sucking more and more money out of local communities in service to bloated school bureaucracies and exorbitant benefits. And yet you think that the sum total of failure is negligible because some few are able to benefit from the whole rotten mess, without considering who and what might have been damaged or prevented by the very same mechanisms. To me it looks like almost everyone's education is worsened, in service to delivering a mediocre education to a very, very few who you suppose might not have been able to obtain a mediocre education without outside assistance.

Naturally, I dispute the notion that absent government involvement in education, there would be no worthy outside assistance for those who truly desired a competent education, but who otherwise might not be able to afford it.

An education should be one of the more cheaply produced things of value in the modern world, but the relentless propaganda that it can only be delivered by certified government employees, selflessly devoted to their craft as long as it isn't for too many hours a week or too many months a year has fooled a lot of people. And the resulting education system has created a lot of fools.

Posted by: msoja | May 26, 2010 7:15 PM | Report abuse

--"A university like the dreaded Harvard that has more applicants than spaces will have no means to in compare the performance of individual applicants, since standards no longer exist across schools."--

Does Harvard manage to distinguish between Apple and Microsoft, Hitachi and Samsung, Ford and Toyota? Or do they need not only a government agency, but an entire government bureaucracy, to help them deliver their largely government driven product? And that's a mixed question, which I'm sure you'll be fooled by, so be careful.

For bonus consideration, as an employer, what criteria would you find useful in considering an applicant claiming legitimacy from a public school? Is there any meaningful criteria for which to consider ostensible government school graduates? Or does one *always* have to factor in "retraining"? And why?

Posted by: msoja | May 27, 2010 12:52 AM | Report abuse

msoja, the anarchist who hangs out at the public policy blog, remains the equivalent of a vegetarian that hangs out at the steakhouse, pounding his head on the table because he can't find anything but beef on the menu, and then coming back every night to do it all over again. It is amusing to watch, but also pitiful.

As for anecdotes, the anarchist msoja is the person who tries to hang his argument in favor of the abolition of public education on the isolated anecdote of a failed public school district in Rhode Island, or a non-grammatical sentence in a website about literacy. Of course, there are many more anecdotes about school districts that beat the averages, innovate, and do more with less. Where public schools struggle, every American prefers that the school be reformed, except msoja, who prefers that all public schools be closed tomorrow, so that he will have a smaller tax obligation.

An anecdote to go along with mosoja's: One of my sons is a Physics major on the Dean's list at one of the best universities in America. He attended public schools all of his life and they seem to have done a fine job for him, and his college education is made possible in part through Pell grants and state scholarships in recognition of his academic achievement. Visit any high school or college in America and learn about the countless success stories coming out of America's public schools.

The anarchist msoja relies on an unsupportable assertion that in his cartoonish fantasy world of all private schools that support would magically materialize to ensure that all children would have tuition from some phantom private sources. The anarchist msoja makes no real argument to rebut the obvious fact that in a world of all private schools the quality (and even availability) of education is tied to the size of the parents' bank account, thus locking in unequal opportunity from birth.

The anarchist msoja contends that education "should" be cheap, and that "it doesn't require a lot of money to teach a kid a little math, and how to read or write." These days to succeed in our society a high school graduate needs to have a much higher set of skills than that, but msoja still lives in the "little house on the prairie" universe, so he would not understand.

And the anarchist msoja still is unable to answer the challenge to name a single prosperous nation in the modern world without a system of public education.

Posted by: Patrick_M | May 27, 2010 1:25 AM | Report abuse

"...the fact that I can buy anything, or earn anything, or sell anything without the government forcing me to turn over some portion of income or proceeds, kind of gives the word "coercive" a certain inescapable meaning."

The founders accepted the need for taxation, but believed that taxation "without representation" was coercive. They revolted, gained independence, and crafted an ingenious constitution that ensured democratic representation, replete with a complex web of checks and balances to restrain excessive government power.

The anarchist msoja despises all taxation (despite representation) and considers democracy to be the tyranny of the majority aganst his own bank account. The anarchist is an enemy of the US Constitution and of the basic principles upon which our nation was founded.

The anarchist msoja is a pretentious adherent to the idea of the non-organization of ungoverned societies like Somalia and Yemen, but the cowardly anarchist msoja prefers to freeload off of a prosperous governed society that he claims to be unjust, rather than move to a society that is organized consistent with his professed infantile and masturbatory crackpot philosophy.

Posted by: Patrick_M | May 27, 2010 1:42 AM | Report abuse

Returning (at last!) to the policy (!) topic of this thread, I hope that Dave Obey can bring this proposal back to life in the House, and that the White House will wake up and support one of their own best-ever 'bang-for-the-buck" initiatives.

The fact that this amendment died from a complete lack of political oxygen in the Senate is evidence that what visionbrkr perceives as the invincible influence of the teacher's union in NJ is certainly not true of teachers' advocates at the national level.

Posted by: Patrick_M | May 27, 2010 1:52 AM | Report abuse

Patrick,

yes a policy discussion!

Its also not as if teachers unions don't exert a strong influence nationwide. While they're not as strong as NJ I expect they still exert an influence and if I was confident that the money was spent wisely I'd be absolutely in favor of it. The Million dollar question is though will it be spent wisely or will it be spent as it has been in the past?


As far as the political oxygen I agree but that is due to many factors not the least of which is the impending November elections that normally give pause to such spending measures. I'd also be happier if it was at least somewhat paid for.

Posted by: visionbrkr | May 27, 2010 8:07 AM | Report abuse

--"yes a policy discussion!"--

Your "policy discussion" is little more than wishin' and hopin' for the ways that other people will dispose of your assets for you.

Good luck with that.

We are on our way down because the country is filling up with dolts who think a 2010 Pell Grant and dean's list citation mean an education has been delivered. The government is *giving* that stuff away (with other people's money) and it's worth exactly what the recipient paid for it.

Posted by: msoja | May 27, 2010 11:20 AM | Report abuse

"...dolts who think a 2010 Pell Grant and dean's list citation mean an education has been delivered."

The Pell grant "means" financial need.

The Dean's List "means" that the 18 year old understands second order linear constant coefficient homogeneous differential equations, thanks to the education he received in public schools. Hence this "means" that a superb education was delivered by his public schools.

And the anarchist msoja still is unable to answer the challenge to name a single prosperous nation in the modern world without a system of public education.

Posted by: Patrick_M | May 27, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

--"The Dean's List "means" that the 18 year old understands second order linear constant coefficient homogeneous differential equations, thanks to the education he received in public schools. Hence this "means" that a superb education was delivered by his public schools."--

If that is indeed true, then I regret my impertinence, yet it is still nothing more than anecdote. Certain people will manage to learn despite their surroundings. That's why I contend that Rhode Island could abolish its government school system and "learning" would hardly deteriorate.

As to your last contention, I'll repeat what I always say when you trot that one out: Name the single nation before 1776 that proclaimed the rights of the individual sacrosanct, and endeavored to set up a government to preserve those rights. Just because everyone else was doing something different didn't mean the thing was impossible.

Posted by: msoja | May 29, 2010 1:29 AM | Report abuse

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