Edujobs Bailout Looks Even More Like Ill-Advised Policy as Time Passes

Hey, remember Edujobs? The $10 billion chunk of federal taxpayer change doled out to states for the express purpose of hiring and re-hiring teachers and other employees affected by a nationwide trend of crippling layoffs. What could be wrong with that? (Besides being fiscally irresponsible?)

Yesterday, the inimitable Mike Antonucci of the Education Intelligence Agency highlighted even more evidence — including data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics — to undercut Education Secretary Arne Duncan’s claims that the money was needed to save 161,000 jobs:

The vast majority of educators fall into the “Local Government – Education” category. The nearly 8 million employees in this category include superintendents, managers, principals, specialists and other workers not covered by the edujobs bill. Nevertheless, the total workforce in August 2010 consisted of 56,500 fewer employees than it did in August 2009. That’s a reduction of 0.7 percent, which isn’t much worse than the reduction in enrollment. It also fits quite nicely with NEA’s estimate of membership loss, pre-edujobs.

This observation raises more questions about the hasty decision to throw more borrowed taxpayer money into a K-12 jobs bailout.

Aside from that, concerns are growing about the terms under which the funds are being allotted. Both Education Week‘s Politics K-12 blog and Denise at Colorado Charters have pointed out that certain public charter schools are ineligible for the funds if run by a charter management organization. Of course, following the rhetoric behind the Congressional Edujobs initiative, these schools and teachers serve kids just as much as any other public school.

So why discriminate? A bureaucratic snafu, perhaps? Maybe a favor to the administration’s government union allies? In any case, as time passes the Edujobs bailout looks even more like ill-advised and harmful policy.