President Calls for Billions to Save Educator Jobs and Modernize SchoolsPresident Obama's American Jobs Act calls for $60 billion to save teacher jobs and modernize the nation's schools as part of his $447 billion plan to boost the lagging economy and reduce the stagnant unemployment rate. But despite the president's assertion that every component of his plan has a history of bipartisan support and won't add to the deficit, such measures face an uphill battle in a divided Congress where many Republicans are skeptical that more spending will improve the economy and create jobs.
The American Jobs Act includes $30 billion to prevent up to 280,000 teacher layoffs by supporting state and local efforts to retain, rehire, and hire early childhood, elementary, and secondary educators. The funds can be used for not only teachers, but also guidance counselors, classroom assistants, afterschool personnel, tutors, and literacy and math coaches. The hope is that in addition to saving educator jobs, such efforts will address the ballooning class sizes, shortened school days, and reduction of afterschool activities that many districts are facing this school year as a result of state budget shortfalls.
The plan proposes an additional $30 billion to modernize at least 35,000 public schools?$25 billion for K-12 schools and $5 billion for community colleges. The money can't be spent on new school construction, but it can be used on a range of emergency repair and renovation projects, greening and energy efficiency upgrades, asbestos abatement and removal, and modernization efforts to build new science and computer labs and upgrade school technology. Local districts would also be able to use the funds to help schools become centers of the community?from improving outdoor learning and play areas to upgrading shared spaces for adult vocational and job development centers.
From: ASCD. Education advocates