Education is high on the list for the economic stimulus package being proposed by the Obama Administration. Congress also supports turbo charging education so the likelihood of significant aid to schools is very high. But where oh where will the money actually go?
- Instructional Materials?
As a nation we have some clear choices to make. We should be fighting for the right things amidst all the logrolling and back slapping that go on in DC. If you are part of the education publishing industry you should be engaged with the government relations work at AEP, SIIA, or AAP. These folks are working hard to make sure our voices are heard and they need your support and engagement. All of them welcome members who get involved in this effort.
As experts in this area and as citizens we have a responsibility to speak up. This doesn’t mean pulling strings for our particular companies, it means making sure all of our money is spent wisely with the long term in view.
Patrick Riccards over the Eduflack blog has a great analysis titled Shovel-Ready or Funding-Worthy? It is a sound synopsis of the choices at the Federal and local level. Will the money go to the best connected (e.g. districts with lobbyists) or will it go the place where it will make the longest term difference in the economy (e.g. STEM).
I’ll let Patrick have the last word:
We just need to remember that the stimulus is not intended as a bailout. It is meant to serve as an investment in our nation. It is meant to create jobs and strengthen economic opportunity, both now and in the future. For our school systems, that means it shouldn’t go to the first program in line or the first idea that offers to create a job or make us feel better about ourselves. We need to focus on the investment side of the equation, ensuring that these new federal dollars are going into efforts that will make a difference — both in the short and long term — and can demonstrate real ROI. If K-12 dollars are in short supply, shouldn’t we make sure that new dollars are being spent on worthy efforts? Let’s eliminate shovel-ready from our vocabulary (at least of K-12 vocabulary). It’s time to practice saying “funding worthy.”
Government Affairs Links:
AEP – Association of Education Publishers. Primarily supplemental companies, a mix of print and technology providers with an emphasis on instructional materials.
SIIA – Software Information Industry Association. Technology oriented and a mix of instructional and enterprise solutions for education.
AAP – The Association of American Publishers. Large companies, primarily the basal textbook providers.