Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Hot Topic: State funds passed

Yesterday the the House passed  a bill to provide $26.1 billion dollars in state aid to fund education and healthcare and President Obama immediately signed it. This aid will prevent layoffs of many teachers and state employees.

State governments have been under extreme fiscal pressures as the property tax base and sales tax base have been erroded by the recession. Budgetary cutbacks on the state level generally mean that our most vulnerable citizens - the elderly, disabled and children - no longer have access to vital services like health care, rehabilitiation and education.

I am glad to see that Congress and the Administration have taken this issue seriously and have acted swiftly even in the face of opposition by Republicans. I am not clear why Republicans are so opposed to this particular bailout. I understand the criticism of too much government spending and the fear of growth in government. However, a healthy, educated, productive workforce is the cornerstone of a free market economy. In fact, when we go into "developing" nations, the first investments are transportation, education and health care because until society is "productive" there will be no ability for capitalists to make money.

I opposed the auto and bank bailouts, but I strongly support this package because the money is earmarked for specific, measurable programs, it will prevent layoffs, and the programs it supports have a multipler effect in the communities. What do you think?


  1. I agree with you, Angie. Our summer nanny is an unemployed elementary school teacher who has spent more than a full year looking for a job. She is amazing with excellent credentials for an entry-level teacher. She is four credits away from two masters degrees and cannot get those degrees right now or she is considered to be, in the teaching world, "unhirable" - overqualified and underexperienced.

    Every evening our nanny searches for teacher postings state-wide for jobs where she can apply. There have been basically no jobs available all summer, and if a job does become available, as many as 700 teachers apply for one open position. That is crazy to me.

    Yesterday evening our nanny looked online and again, no postings were out there. This morning, one day after Obama signed the bill there are now 40 teacher postings in the Twin Cities metro area. It was as if the schools were ready to go with postings and had to wait for the green light to get things moving.

    The one thing I don't know is where exactly this $26.1 billion is coming from... But I can say that I was impressed by some swift action on behalf of MN schools to utilize those obviously-needed funds. Schools do need teachers more than ever and are struggling to pay for them. And not only schools, but all of us, need more good teachers. Yay for education!