Special Report
Law & Courts

Senate Passes Edujobs Bill

By Alyson Klein — August 05, 2010 5 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

The U.S. Senate today approved a long-stalled measure that would provide $10 billion to prevent what supporters say would be hundreds of thousands of teacher layoffs nationwide.

Leaders of the U.S. House of Representatives, meanwhile, are taking the unusual step of calling for lawmakers to return from their August recess next week to pass the final version of the bill.

The legislation is intended to help states weather the continuing economic downturn, particularly as funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which included nearly $40 billion in aid to states, begins to dry up.

The bill is explicit that the money would have to be used for salaries, benefits, and support services for school staff. Districts also could use it to recall or rehire former staff members, or to bring on new employees for K-12 schools and early childhood programs. There had been some concerns that states used the education aid provided under the recovery act to divert funding to other programs.

The Senate bill, approved 61-39 today, is fully offset, meaning that the $10 billion price tag is covered by cuts to other programs. Some of those cuts are to education programs, including $50 million from the Striving Readers program, which helps finance adolescent literacy efforts, and more than $10 million from Ready to Teach, which finances telecommunications programs for teachers. It also includes an $82 million cut to student financial aid administration programs.

Separately, the legislation includes $16 billion in additional Medicaid aid to states. That provision has an indirect effect on education, advocates say, because without those funds, states would likely have to significantly cut their budgets, which would almost certainly affect K-12 education.

The House approved a different version of the education jobs bill last month that included $800 million in education offsets, some of which took aim at key Obama administration priorities. They included a $500 million cut to Race to the Top, which rewards states for revamping standards, assessments, and other policies, and a $200 million cut to the Teacher Incentive Fund, which doles out grants for pay-for-performance programs. But the Obama administration threatened to veto the bill if those cuts remained in place, and the proposal also received significant pushback from moderate senators.

Race to Top Extension?

Meanwhile, lawmakers have been working on the departmental spending bills for fiscal year 2011, which starts Oct. 1. Those measures are not expected to be approved until after the 2010 midterm elections in November.

Still, there are indications that the administration will get some of the increases it asked for in its fiscal 2011 budget request, unveiled earlier this year.

For instance, both the House Appropriations subcommittee dealing with education spending and the Senate Appropriations Committee voted to continue the Race to the Top program for at least one more year, albeit not at the level the administration initially wanted.

The Obama administration had sought $1.35 billion to continue the competitive grant program in fiscal 2011.The legislation that was approved by a House Appropriations panel last month would offer somewhat less than that amount—$800 million. The Senate Appropriations Committee also voted to extend the program for another year, but only at $675 million. And, under the Senate measure, the program would be expanded so districts could apply for Race to the Top grants, as proposed by the administration. It is unclear whether the House bill would also include that language.

If the extension makes it into the final spending bills for fiscal 2011, advocates say, that could mean more states will take the steps emphasized in the Race to the Top program, such as revamping their teacher-evaluation systems and lifting caps on charter schools, in order to get a slice of the competitive grants. States see another opportunity to secure much-needed funding.

“States have demonstrated their commitment to meaningful reform, and Race to the Top will aid states in that effort,” Gene Wilhoit, the executive director of the Council of Chief State School Officers, based in Washington, said in an e-mail. “Extending this program will allow for more state winners.”

The additional spending for fiscal 2011 also would include $400 million under the House bill—$100 million less than the president’s request—to extend the Investing in Innovation, or i3, grant program, which also was created under the recovery act and initially funded at $650 million. The Senate also voted to keep that program in place, at $250 million. The Education Department last week picked 49 recipients for grants under that program, which is meant to scale up promising innovative practices at the district level and which has attracted interest from more than 1,600 districts, school consortia, and non-profits nationwide. (“Education Budget Plan Wielded as Policy Lever,” February 9, 2010.)

The bills would include modest hikes for special education and Title I grants to districts.

Under the House measure, Title I would get $16.2 billion, a little more than the president’s request of $15.9 billion and a roughly 3 percent increase over last year. And the measure would include nearly $13 billion for special education, about a 4 percent boost over last year.

Under the Senate plan, Title I grants for districts would get $14.9 billion, a $450 million increase over fiscal 2010 and the president’s request. Special education state grants would be financed at $11.9 billion, a $420 million increase over fiscal 2010, and $170 million more than the president wanted for fiscal 2011.

The two committees used slightly different calculations in determining total discretionary funding for the Education Department. Under the Senate bill, the department would receive $66.4 billion in fiscal 2011, compared with $67.4 billion in the president’s request. And under the House measure, the Education Department would get $71.9 billion. That’s less than the $73.4 billion the President asked for under the House’s calculation, but an increase over the current year’s $64.3 billion.

Some key programs would be eliminated under the Senate bill, including the $66.5 million Even Start family literacy program, and an $88 million program aimed at creating small learning communities within large schools. Instead, to help support high school redesign, the measure would double the administration’s High School Graduation Initiative, which was created last year to allocate grants aimed at improving graduation rates and financed at $50 million.

A version of this article appeared in the August 11, 2010 edition of Education Week

Events

Jobs Virtual Career Fair for Teachers and K-12 Staff
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.
English-Language Learners Webinar English Learners and the Science of Reading: What Works in the Classroom
ELs & emergent bilinguals deserve the best reading instruction! The Reading League & NCEL join forces on best practices. Learn more in our webinar with both organizations.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Teaching Webinar
Challenging the Stigma: Emotions and STEM
STEM isn't just equations and logic. Join this webinar and discover how emotions fuel innovation, creativity, & problem-solving in STEM!
Content provided by Project Lead The Way

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Law & Courts Supreme Court Declines Case on Selective High School Aiming to Boost Racial Diversity
Some advocates saw the K-12 case as the logical next step after last year's decision against affirmative action in college admissions
7 min read
Rising seniors at the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology gather on the campus in Alexandria, Va., Aug. 10, 2020. From left in front are, Dinan Elsyad, Sean Nguyen, and Tiffany Ji. From left at rear are Jordan Lee and Shibli Nomani. A federal appeals court’s ruling in May 2023 about the admissions policy at the elite public high school in Virginia may provide a vehicle for the U.S. Supreme Court to flesh out the intended scope of its ruling Thursday, June 29, 2023, banning affirmative action in college admissions.
A group of rising seniors at the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology gather on the campus in Alexandria, Va., in August 2020. From left in front are, Dinan Elsyad, Sean Nguyen, and Tiffany Ji. From left at rear are Jordan Lee and Shibli Nomani. The U.S. Supreme Court on Feb. 20 declined to hear a challenge to an admissions plan for the selective high school that was facially race neutral but designed to boost the enrollment of Black and Hispanic students.
J. Scott Applewhite/AP
Law & Courts School District Lawsuits Against Social Media Companies Are Piling Up
More than 200 school districts are now suing the major social media companies over the youth mental health crisis.
7 min read
A close up of a statue of the blindfolded lady justice against a light blue background with a ghosted image of a hands holding a cellphone with Facebook "Like" and "Love" icons hovering above it.
iStock/Getty
Law & Courts In 1974, the Supreme Court Recognized English Learners' Rights. The Story Behind That Case
The Lau v. Nichols ruling said students have a right to a "meaningful opportunity" to participate in school, but its legacy is complex.
12 min read
Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court William O. Douglas is shown in an undated photo.
U.S. Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, shown in an undated photo, wrote the opinion in <i>Lau</i> v. <i>Nichols</i>, the 1974 decision holding that the San Francisco school system had denied Chinese-speaking schoolchildren a meaningful opportunity to participate in their education.
AP
Law & Courts Supreme Court Declines to Hear School District's Transgender Restroom Case
The case asked whether federal law protects transgender students on the use of school facilities that correspond to their gender identity.
4 min read
People stand on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court on Feb. 11, 2022, in Washington, D.C.
People stand on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court on Feb. 11, 2022, in Washington, D.C.
Mariam Zuhaib/AP