The American Jobs Act proposed by President Barack Obama would save nearly 400,000 educator jobs if states spent all the money in one year, according to a White House report released last week.
The legislation is part of a nearly $450 billion package that would include $30 billion to prevent teacher layoffs and $25 billion for K-12 school modernization and repair.
The report’s release comes amid a political hard-sell by the White House for its jobs plan—and pushback from Republicans in Congress on the specifics of the package, which the president unveiled last month. At the start of a conference call with reporters to discuss the numbers, Josh Earnest, a White House spokesman, mentioned a remark by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., indicating that the American Jobs Act, as written, essentially was dead on arrival.
“This report makes clear that there are tangible consequences to Mr. Cantor’s partisan stance”, Mr. Earnest said.
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan stressed that classes are getting bigger and schools are having to cut programs, including arts and music. He said such cuts were likely to continue without the new aid.
The administration’s calculation that nearly 400,000 educator jobs would be saved relies on the assumption that states would spend all the money in one year. But the grants would be spread out over two years, and it seems likely that states would spread out the spending as well, as was the pattern with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and the Education Jobs Fund.
The administration previously had said that 280,000 educator jobs were on the chopping block this year alone.
A version of this article appeared in the October 12, 2011 edition of Education Week as White House: Bill Would Save 400,000 Ed. Jobs