Education Secretary Arne Duncan said the economic stimulus plan will help avert thousands of teacher layoffs, and he released the first estimates of where the money will go.
Duncan visited a charter school Thursday in New York, where Mayor Michael Bloomberg has said state budget cuts might force layoffs of 14,000 teachers. Nationwide, nearly 600,000 teaching jobs are at risk.
“Can you imagine if class sizes go from 25 to 40, what that would mean to our students?” Duncan asked. “It is so critically important that in these tough times, we keep teachers teaching and keep students learning.”
The Obama administration has no estimate of exactly how many jobs the stimulus will save, but Duncan said it is hundreds of thousands.
The stimulus will spend about $100 billion on education. New York should get nearly $4.8 billion under the bill, and about $1.9 billion of that should go to New York City, he said.
Bloomberg said it appears the stimulus money will halt most of the teacher layoffs in his city. He appeared with Duncan, New York schools chief Joel Klein and the American Federation of Teachers’ president, Randi Weingarten.
The school they visited, Explore Charter School in Brooklyn, is an example of the kinds of innovation that could benefit from a $5 billion incentive fund contained in the stimulus plan.
Duncan said he also wants to use the money to press states for more rigorous academic standards and tests. In states with low standards, “we lie to children and tell them they are on track,” Duncan said.
His department posted on their Web site a series of charts estimating the dollar amounts that will go to states and school districts under the bill.
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