Report: Recovery Act Has Been a Lifeline for Nation's Schools
White House report estimates 1 million jobs, many in education, saved or created by Recovery Act
By Kevin Hart
At least 1 million Americans, many of them educating our nation's students, are heading to work each day thanks to funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, according to a report released by the White House today.
The report, based on data from local governments and private companies, estimates 640,000 jobs saved or created so far by the $787 billion Recovery Act. But, because the report only measures the results from about half the money injected into the economy by the Recovery Act and does not account for other stimulus measures, such as tax cuts, the White House estimates that the real numer of jobs saved or created likely tops 1 million.
NEA had aggressively supported the Recovery Act, saying that a failure to act could lead to catastrophic results for public education and for America's students, as states scrambled to close budget deficits by cutting education funding. According to Vice President Joseph Biden, who hosted a press conference attended by NEA President Dennis Van Roekel, 325,000 jobs in education, from pre-K through the university level, were saved thanks to Recovery Act funding.
"The Recovery Act has helped pull a lot of states out of crisis," Biden said.
The Recovery Act provided $48.6 billion for states to save and create jobs, as well as $10 billion for low-income students and $12.2 billion for students with disabilities. The evidence of its effectiveness can be found in schools across the country.
For example, Montgomery County, Maryland, used $500,000 in stimulus funds to expand its Head Start programs from half day to full day in eight additional low-income schools. Head Start is one of the longest-running educational programs targeted at lower-income students.
Programs like Head Start could have seen deep budget cuts without an injection of stimulus funds. In fact, even though states throughout the country faced education funding cuts this school year, the problem could have been far worse without the Recovery Act. That could have meant ballooning class sizes, eliminated programs, and diminished educational opportunities for America’s students.
Once stimulus funds are exhausted, some states are projecting budget shortfalls that could result in significant cuts to education. NEA is encouraging Congress and the Obama administration to consider extending emergency recovery aid to states so they can maintain adequate levels of funding for students, programs and educators.