Latest on EduJobs: Rhode Island to Spend Down Budget Deficit with Fed Funds?

My Education Policy Center friend Ben DeGrow made the case against the education jobs bailout two weeks ago in the Denver Post. The problem? It’s “excessive, shortsighted and fiscally irresponsible.” In that spirit, a new blog post from Education Week‘s Alyson Klein brings attention to the planned use of Edujobs funds in Rhode Island. She cites a Providence Journal story that shows another element of the fiscal irresponsibility:

A new law aimed at saving millions of teaching jobs and protecting school programs across the country may not accomplish either goal here in Rhode Island.

Instead, Governor Carcieri intends to use the $32.9 million Rhode Island is eligible to receive to plug an estimated $38-million deficit in this year’s budget.

Now, let me be clear: I don’t necessarily see this same sort of scenario happening in Colorado. But how many other states will use the federal printing presses and the public sympathies “for the children” to take some of the education jobs money in order to cover general shortages in their budgets?

Because we still don’t know the extent of how many teacher and other school employee positions actually have been cut, much less how many of those cuts are needful corrections of past hiring binges as opposed to serious shortages. Somehow, I have a very difficult time believing there are $10 billion worth of the latter. And Rhode Island is just doing what it can… with your federal tax dollars.