NEA: Show Us the Money

July 02, 2008 1 min read
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MM has assigned me the task of making sense of the National Education Association’s new “Great Public Schools for Every Student by 2020.” I read two pieces of NEA’s six-point plan, and I saw dollar signs jumping off the page.

The NEA wants Congress to guarantee full funding for NCLB’s Title I and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. (In federal budget terms, that would make those programs entitlements, meaning they wouldn’t be subjected to the cap on discretionary spending.) That would more than double the $26 billion currently spent on those programs.

The new federal money would be small change compared to what the NEA wants to get from states. The union is proposing that federal law require each state to write a “adequacy and equity” plan. The document would detail the inequities in their school systems and explain what the state would do to fix them. They’d also become Exhibit A for any lawyer suing a state for failing to adequately finance its schools.

As my colleague Vaishali Honawar points out, NEA’s proposal isn’t surprising. After all, wouldn’t you expect the union to ask for more money and the other elements of their plan (promoting teaching as a profession, improving accountability, investing in education research, and basing reforms on proven strategies)?

But the amount of money that could go to schools if this plan is enacted could be staggering.

A version of this news article first appeared in the NCLB: Act II blog.


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