The American Jobs Act proposed by president Obama last month would save nearly 400,000 educator jobs if states spent all the money in one year, according to a report released today by the White House.
The legislation is part of a nearly $450 billion package that would include $30 billion to prevent teacher layoffs, and $25 billion for school modernization and repair.
It’s hard not to see some political motivation in the report released today. At the start of a conference call with reporters to discuss the numbers, Josh Earnest, a White House spokesman, mentioned recent remarks by Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va., the House Majority Leader. Cantor indicated that the American Jobs Act essentially was dead on arrival.
“This report makes clear that there are tangible consequences to Mr. Cantor’s partisan” stance, Earnest said. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan stressed that classes are getting bigger and schools are cutting programs, including arts and music. He said such cuts were likely to continue without the new aid.
It’s important to note that the department’s jobs calculation relies on the assumption that states would spend all the jobs money in one year. But the grants would be spread out over two years, and it seems likely that states would elect to spread out the spending as well, at least based on spending patterns for the stimulus and edujobs.
It’s also important to note that the administration previously had said there were 280,000 educator jobs on the chopping block this year. That’s the number of job cuts administration officials think are likely to happen in a single year, not the number of jobs the bill would save over two years. Confusing for sure.