Education and the Stimulus Package

rocket school busEducation 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?

  • Construction?
  • Maintenance?
  • Teachers?
  • 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.

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2 responses to “Education and the Stimulus Package”

  1. Hi Lee, I’ve been closely watching for information related to Obama’s education stimulus plan since its announcement. While there are many general ideas about the plan, the frustrating part is the lack of specifics. Whatever the plan will deliver, it appears that there’s some healthy discussion around technology and infrastructure investment. But what does that mean? Does this mean that all classrooms will receive excellent broadband connectivity? Will schools would receive dollars for computing devices that are closer to the state of the art than those that are aging and outdated? If these two items alone are the only ed tech investment to come out of the plan, could it mean that publishers would be in a better position than ever before to create and sell technology specific learning products to districts and states? If so, I can envision a new found rush by publishers to develop a wide array of technology-based instructional products that are leaps and bounds beyond mere assessment and classroom management tools. While we don’t have all of the answers, I’m excited about the possibilities this stimulus plan will bring not just to schools, teachers and students, but to the ed tech industry as a whole.

  2. scott Head says:

    As a teacher, I am definitely excited to hear about the emphasis on education. There is no doubt, our education system will be at the forefront for our country becoming the economic giant, it once was. I do have an issue with leaving “No Child Left Behind” as our focus, though. Teachers are being forced to teach the test!!!! Funding is directly related to this test! That may be fine for Elementary, where the focus is on learning how to read, write and do basic math. But, at the high school level, a new direction is a must. We should be teaching our young adults how to collaborate, communicate and think.

    I have never heard a business owner say, “I wish students were better educated in history, math or science.” They will say, kids don’t know how to work hard! Think critically and/or apply knowledge to a problem: as well as, communicate with employees and customers!
    N.C.L.B. is great for lower level schools, but not for upper level. It is the reason our young adults are bored in school. Also, they know the stuff we are teaching is pointless to their lives; therefore, they don’t try. When are we going to wake up and see education (high school) for what it is. A baby sitting service