A new report out from the White House Domestic Policy Council estimates that the stimulus package has saved or created 250,000 education jobs so far—most of them probably teachers. (UPDATE: And a good chunk of them are from California. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger reported today that 62,204 of these education jobs, or nearly 25 percent of the estimated total, were saved or created in his state.)
The White House has the distinct advantage of being able to look at the first quarterly stimulus reports that states and other recipients of stimulus funds filed with the federal government before anyone else. The rest of us get to look at the reports when they’re made public on Recovery.gov Oct. 30.
Even so, much of the 23-page report rehashes data from the already public applications states submitted to gain access to their stabilization funds—data that shows most states said they would use the money to backfill cuts they made, or were going to make, to K-12 education. The White House also drew on anecdotal reports from the media to highlight jobs that were saved in specific school districts. In a press release, the White House says that the stimulus package has enabled states to restore nearly all of their projected education budget shortfalls for fiscal 2009 and 2010. Of course, things are still projected to get much worse for states, based on latest tax collections data.
In the press release, Education Secretary Arne Duncan says: “Early feedback from states also tells us that many districts are using stimulus dollars in ways that will move us beyond the status quo.”
Given that most of the money has so far been used to get state K-12 funding levels up to the status quo, it will be most interesting to see what states and school districts report spending their money on. (UPDATE 2: Read Andy Smarick’s take on this issue, too.)