Federal Federal File

The Old Pork Ball Game

December 07, 2004 2 min read

The big spending package passed by Congress in its recent lame-duck session may have put the squeeze on the Department of Education, but the folks at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum surely won’t be complaining.

After all, they’re slated to get $450,000 of the department’s appropriation. Tucked into the sprawling omnibus bill for fiscal 2005 are thousands of such earmarks—which critics call “pork barrel” spending—for projects in lawmakers’ home states and districts that faced no public debate on their merit.

An Education Week analysis found nearly 1,200 earmarks, for a total of more than $400 million, in the Education Department’s discretionary budget of $56.6 billion.

The money for the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., would help conduct “educational outreach using baseball to teach students through distance learning,” according to the conference report for the budget bill.

Jeff S. Arnett, the museum’s director of education and public programs, said the initiative uses baseball to educate students in science, math, history, and other subjects.

“Baseball is providing a platform for correlating with the standards,” he said.

Several lawmakers apparently pushed for the earmark, including Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y. The senator’s office did not respond to a press inquiry on the matter.

But critics, including Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., call earmarks bad policy. “At a time of war, and with an ever-growing deficit, the Appropriations Committee has succeeded, once again, in loading up a must-pass bill with everyday, run-of-the-mill pork projects,” he said Nov. 20 on the Senate floor.

Earmarks circumvent the usual process of doling out education aid through formulas tied to poverty and population, and competitions that assess quality. This year’s batch comes as spending for many long-standing Education Department programs stayed flat or fell in a budget that lifted the agency’s discretionary spending by less than 2 percent. (“2005 Budget Drops Below Bush Request,” Dec. 1, 2004.)

After-school programs were popular earmarks, with a long list for school districts and organizations. Beyond that, the largess runs the gamut. The Washington National Opera is down for $150,000 for educational programs. The American Hearing Impaired Hockey Association in Chicago is slated to receive $130,000 for “program expansion and improvement.” And the Alaska Hospitality Alliance Education Foundation is poised to get $100,000 for training high school students.

Related Tags:

Events

Classroom Technology Webinar Making Big Technology Decisions: Advice for District Leaders, Principals, and Teachers
Educators at all levels make decisions that can have a huge impact on students. That’s especially true when it comes to the use of technology, which was activated like never before to help students learn
Professional Development Webinar Expand Digital Learning by Expanding Teacher Training
This discussion will examine how things have changed and offer guidance on smart, cost-effective ways to expand digital learning efforts and train teachers to maximize the use of new technologies for learning.
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
Student Well-Being Webinar
The Social-Emotional Impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic on American Schoolchildren
Hear new findings from an analysis of our 300 million student survey responses along with district leaders on new trends in student SEL.
Content provided by Panorama

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

Federal Biden Calls on Schools to Host COVID-19 Vaccination Clinics for Kids 12 and Up
The president is focusing on vaccinating children ages 12 and older as concerns grow about the Delta variant and its impact on schools.
2 min read
President Joe Biden speaks in the South Court Auditorium on the White House campus, Wednesday, June 2, 2021, in Washington.
President Joe Biden speaks in the South Court Auditorium on the White House campus on June 2.
Evan Vucci/AP
Federal How Political Backlash to Critical Race Theory Reached School Reopening Guidance
A lawmaker wants Miguel Cardona to repudiate the Abolitionist Teaching Network after federal COVID-19 documents referenced the group's work.
6 min read
Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., is seen at a press conference at the U.S. Capitol on March 9, 2021 in Washington.
Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., is seen at a press conference at the U.S. Capitol on March 9, 2021 in Washington.<br/>
Graeme Sloan/SIPA USA via AP
Federal Biden Team: Schools Can Go Beyond Trump Rules in Response to Alleged Sexual Misconduct
The Education Department's guidance, released July 20, states that Title IX rules from 2020 lay out "minimum steps" for educators.
3 min read
Symbols of gender.
iStock/Getty
Federal Fact Check: After Furor Over 1619 Project, Feds Adjust History and Civics Grant Plans
A previously obscure history and civics program has weathered a political storm, but what exactly has changed?
4 min read
Education secretary nominee Miguel Cardona speaks during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on his nomination on Feb. 3, 2021, in Washington.
Education secretary nominee Miguel Cardona speaks during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on his nomination on Feb. 3, 2021, in Washington.
Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times via AP