Education Secretary Arne Duncan is asking lawmakers to put aside “politics and ideology” as they consider a request for $23 billion in “emergency” funding for public schools – a measure Republicans reject as a massive federal bailout for the teachers’ unions.
The Obama administration is supporting the bill, formally titled the Keep Our Educators Working Act and sponsored by Rep. George Miller (D-CA) and Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA). In a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) dated May 13, Duncan warned that if the bill is not enacted, “millions” of school children will be adversely affected and the ensuing damage will “undermine the groundbreaking reform efforts underway in states and districts all across the country.”
In Illinois, there's a similar dynamic. Governor Quinn wants to raise the income tax by 33% in order to save teacher's jobs. States like Illinois have a constitutional duty to balance their budgets and so they can't simply borrow the money. Th problem is that education spending way up since as far back as the 1960's. About $70 billion was earmarked from the stimulus. The funds should be there and the administration just can't seem to spend less money.