Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Obama Will Increase Federal Education Funds

A big story this week has been that President Obama announced a three-year spending freeze to cover many parts of the federal government.

I do not understand this policy: on the one hand, we are increasing federal spending (for instance, the stimulus package) in order to generate more jobs, but then on the other hand we are freezing spending? The two policies seem inconsistent to me.

I assume that Obama is trying to capture some of the anti-deficit fervor that propelled Scott Brown to victory, but won't the effect of the freeze be to eliminate jobs at the same time the stimulus creates them?

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Notwithstanding the freeze, Obama announced yesterday that he plans to raise federal spending on education by about $4 billion during the next fiscal year. Nick Anderson and Michael Shear have the story in this morning's Post, here.

The additional money will include $1.35 billion more for "Race to the Top" grants and $1 billion more for the overhaul of No Child Left Behind. An interesting tidbit from the Post article is that Obama's plan includes a streamlining of the federal education bureaucracy:

Obama is expected to propose the consolidation of federal education programs. The budget he submits next week will collapse 38 K-12 programs into 11 and eliminate six programs.
Bravo to Obama for keeping funds flowing into the public education system, in particular through the innovation grants. Amidst all the brouhaha about reforming the health care system, I worry that people are forgetting that public education is the most important thing our governments (the plural is intended) do. I am glad that Obama's not losing his focus on education.

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