The economy is in the tank and for the last year or so politicians have been scrambling to craft a rescue package (ie, spend a lot of money) in the hopes of giving business as usual a big boost to keep it going.

Now that Obama has been sworn in to the presidency, he hasn’t wasted any time to put together a spending plan of his own.  Education is a big part of this bill, but that doesn’t mean that everyone is happy to see extra money being applied to schools.  Let’s take a look…

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009

Here’s the official name of the Obama stimulus plan.  Of course, there’s an argument being made by Republicans that the legislation isn’t actually stimulus, but looking at the title you can see that this is intended to be something other than a quick fix – it is a plan to reinvest tax money back with the people and structures of society.  As I’m interested in… education.

Science Research

The first big winner named in the legislation is scientists researching at public labs or universities.  The bill provides $3.6 billion dollars for scientific research, and at least $250 million of that is required to go toward earth science and climate-related studies.  This could be a big boost for America’s recently sluggish research – but this isn’t necessarily money that is going to make it to students in undergraduate classes and grade school.  Only $100 million of this science budget goes directly toward education.

Schools and Deptartment of Education

The federal Department of Education receives a huge boost in available funds.  The following programs are slated for additional funding:  In total, about $80 billion dollars over two years.

  • Education for the Disadvantaged
  • Impact Aid
  • School Improvement Programs
  • Innovation and Improvement
  • Special Education
  • Rehabilitation Services and Disability Research
  • Student Financial Assistance
  • Student Aid Administration
  • Higher Education
  • Institute of Education Sciences
  • School Modernization, Renovation, and Repair
  • Higher Education Modernization, Renovation, and Repair

Subsidized student loan limits and free Pell Grant amounts also get a lift – this is good news for the college students attending school over the next few years (if it passes)

State Budget Relief

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 also provides money to assist the state budgets in shortfall.  As I’ve reported previously, Florida and California are among the states hardest hit by the recent financial crisis related to housing – and education has been one of the biggest losers in the deal.  The legislation to prop up state budgets also requires that a certain amount of that money goes directly to education.  It is being estimated that such an infusion of money to the states could benefit Georgia’s education accounts with as much as $2 billion for state schools.

And the Problems, Too

It sounds great to rattle off a list of billions of dollars being directed toward education.  Obviously, as I spend time running this site school is important to me and I think that teaching future generations is essential to our society’s success, but there are still legitimate concerns about the bill.  Many have accused the legislation of being loaded with pork – and indeed, much of the non-education funds are directed toward causes that are typically associated to political patronage.

Some are even worried that such a stimulus bill will have a negative impact on reforming education in America – simply spending more money on teachers, students, and schools doesn’t necessarily translate into better returns on that education investment.

Of course, there is also a lingering question of where this money will come from.  Will taxes come up and threaten the economy further?  Will we borrow more money from our own citizens’ future or find foreign investors willing to buy our debt?  Either way, this same students we’re trying to help are likely to be stuck with the bill.

14 Responses to “Obama Stimulus Proposal Generously Funds Education”

  1. It’s about time they put some federal money into modernizing the public school system. The only unfortunate part is that the schools that already have money will get the most money and the poorest schools will get the least. I guess more rich kids need A/V programs and SOTA computer labs in their schools while poor kids mightbe lucky to get some new textbooks.

  2. i hope that the money actually goes toward helping schools and doesn’t just magically vanish overnight into the system like so much other funding does

  3. My name is Carl Graham , I attend south georgia college in Douglas Ga. I am currently majoring in Psychology but changing my major to chemistry . I waited a long time before comming back to school , I’m thirty seven years old , however I’m really enjoying the college expience here as a freshmand at this school . For the first time in my life i feel like i’m on the right path . However with the cost of tuition and school housing it is very hard to meet the cost of school , even with financial aid . I come from a poor family that cannot help me with that much and lets face it , ”I’m getting older every day . I’f i don’t do this now , i probably never will . I realize that i should have done this a long time ago . I guess what i’m really trying to say here is ,” is there any programs to help people like me a little more with school” ? I’t looks to me like in this great nation we should put alot more enphasis on helping the poor with something usefull , like education . I’t is sad to say but the power seems to be with the money , and the ellite always will prevail over the poor . prove to me that this statment is not true . I hope this is not the nation as karl marx thought it was where the servants must overthrough the ellite in order to have anything . Do we live in a world that is barbarack as that ? I feel as if alot of americans deserve better than what this system has given . There could be a world full of scientists if only more were given the proper chances . Please make sure some help is sent this way for edjucation, sincerly , Carl Graham

    March 4th, 2009 at 6:44 pm

    I’m a 56 year old single woman that lost my business last year. This was a debt collection agency. That was all I knew how to do after working in the field for 35 years. It certainly isn’t a good field to be in now since so many have lost their jobs. I started college classes in effort to give me something to start with. I don’t know how long I will get to go or where the money will come from. Is there a program that I would fit in. My income was zero last year or rather a minus and I had to file bankruptcy. I don’t know what else to do. Thanks

  5. The best judgement is to educate. Educate the minds for the present & future generations to come. Enabling people to deal with situations of past occurances, ie: ECONOMY, Corporate CEO’s . Equalizing the education process will be key, in the distribution of monies.

  6. How do I get some typy of funding for my kids college. I am currently having to pay out of pocket for my two children. They do not qualify for any type of financial aide nor do we qualify for loans since our crdit ratings have dropped significantly.

    Are there any stimulus funds- Grants available for all students?

  7. Obama wants to put more funding toward education and we believe this is a great idea. This will serve to stimulate the economy in the long term by making sure our future business leaders do not make the same mistakes as our current business leaders.

  8. How do I become eligible for the Free Stimulus education fund?
    Thank you.

  9. You pointed some nice topic. These tips are very helpful.


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  4. Obama Calls for more Pell Grants | Free College Blog
  5. Obama donates directly to college charities

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