Where’s the Bailout for Schools?

by Robert Pondiscio
November 25th, 2008

You knew it was just a matter of time before someone asked, “Where’s the bailout for public schools?”  With Wall Street and the banks on the receiving end of hundreds of billions of federal largesse, and the Big Three automakers next in line, Miami-Dade Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho is calling on the federal government to consider a bailout of the nation’s public schools.

”The question in my mind is this: At a time when we’re continuing the bailout of key industries, at what point do we have a bailout of public education?” asks Carvalho, whose district has already trimmed about $300 million from its budget, and could face an additional $65 million in cuts, according to the Miami Herald.  The Miami-Dade school system is the nation’s fourth largest.

”The most commonly heard solution out of Washington these days is a bailout where the federal government intervenes to safeguard key industries and in the process, the quality of American life,” Carvalho said. “If that’s the rationale, than I cannot think of a more strategic investment than safeguarding the quality of public education.”

Meanwhile, over at Eduwonk, Andy Rotherham, who is nothing if not plugged in to the political machinery, reports “hearing some rumblings that a big pre-K program would make a great stimulus package education component.”  But Rotherham thinks school construction makes more sense.  “There is a real need for both traditional public schools and public charter schools and it’s a sensible way to create and maintain jobs,” he writes.   


  1. It isn’t exactly a bailout for public education that’s needed, its a bailout for state government who are seeing their tax base fall apart due to the economic crisis.

    But important as infrastructure is, I think its a mistake to focus only on physical, rather than human capital. At least in CA, everyone seems much more willing to build and renovated schools that to pay for the teachers to teach in them

    Investing in pre-K and small class sizes and after-school programs is just as much of an investment in the future as a highway or a bridge, and teaching is just as much of a real job as construction work.

    Comment by Rachel — November 25, 2008 @ 11:57 am

  2. Great minds must think alike: http://jaypgreene.com/2008/11/25/guess-who-wants-a-bailout/

    Comment by Jay P. Greene — November 25, 2008 @ 12:30 pm

  3. AND make sure the big three AND wall street bankers (and legislators!)are paying their fare share of public school taxes in the areas in which their companies and plants, constituents are located instead of getting corporate welfare to avoid financing the public schools.

    Racism is at work when CEOs and legislators live in wealthy suburbs and send their kids to private schools.

    NB: I am Caucausian and having worked in urban schools all my career life, have watched the tax base erode due to the above.

    Comment by alinda wasner, librarian — December 4, 2008 @ 6:16 pm

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