28th 2009
Feds’ Magical Money Tree Blowing Dollars Away from Education Reform

Posted under Education Politics & Federal Government & Innovation and Reform & Public Charter Schools & School Finance & Teachers

Last week I asked whether the federal “stimulus” bill and its magical money tree would do any good for education reform. It didn’t take long to have that naive question soundly rejected.

The Flypaper blog’s Obama Administration Reform-o-Meter has taken a plunge with the news that the $125 billion in education funding attached to the so-called emergency spending measure is becoming less reform-friendly. Take the Senate committee’s approved version:

The Teacher Incentive Fund (which supports merit pay programs): gone. Charter school facilities dollars: gone. Money for data infrastructure projects: gone. Language ensuring that charter schools have equitable access to the money: gone. The teachers unions firmly in control of the Democratic Party: back with a vengeance.

This can’t feel good if you belong to Democrats for Education Reform. Except they’ve got to be cheering for the House version of the bill, about which Flypaper’s Mike Petrilli writes:

On the other hand, the House bill isn’t a complete disaster for reform, because it at least includes some goodies in its Santa Claus sack: money for charter school facilities; dollars for teacher merit pay; a promise that charter schools will have equal access to the federal largesse; investments in state data systems that could (one day) be used to tie student achievement to individual teachers.

Since the likely result is a compromise between the House and Senate versions, I can say the Feds would do a lot better to keep the magical money tree to themselves, and let states figure out how to promote effective, parent-friendly education reform on their own. But even that approach isn’t too promising.

Help! I’m beginning to wonder if I might turn into a cynic before my 6th birthday.


10 Responses to “Feds’ Magical Money Tree Blowing Dollars Away from Education Reform”

  1. Ed is Watching » Edspresso is Hot These Days, Burning Down the Magical Money Tree on 05 Feb 2009 at 12:07 pm #

    [...] yet, so I’m not going to stop beating it. I’ve already highlighted the silliness of the “magical money tree” solution to education coming from [...]

  2. Ed is Watching » Colorado State Board of Education Members Weigh in on “Stimulus” Bill on 06 Feb 2009 at 2:07 pm #

    [...] about the education spending proposal inside Congress’ so-called stimulus (I prefer “magical money tree”) bill. Well, rather than just get up on my soapbox again (but hey, if I don’t stand up there, [...]

  3. Ed is Watching » Are You Wearing Blue? Do You Support Massive Government Spending? on 10 Feb 2009 at 12:46 pm #

    [...] spending proposal in Congress. Say what? I guess AFT has its own reasons for believing in the “magical money tree” (then they must believe in Santa Claus and the tooth fairy – like I do, [...]

  4. Ed is Watching » And There Ain’t Gonna Be No Magical Money Tree at Today’s Rally Either on 17 Feb 2009 at 11:32 am #

    [...] cars that would buy? Seriously. And my family doesn’t get to pick the $30,000 off the magical money tree any more than the federal government gets to do so with the hundreds of billions of dollars [...]

  5. Ed is Watching » Healthy Skepticism about Magical Money Tree and Education Reform on 25 Jun 2009 at 11:07 am #

    [...] federal government’s “magical money tree” can make untold billions of dollars out of thin air to spend on a wide array of pork projects and [...]

  6. Ed is Watching » National Journal “Education Experts” (sans moi) Opine on Magical Money Tree on 30 Jun 2009 at 11:05 am #

    [...] to answer major policy questions on a new blog. Their inaugural question is about the “magical money tree”: Given the bleak budgetary outlook for many states, should stimulus funds be primarily devoted to [...]

  7. Ed is Watching » Will Colorado “Race to the Top” of the Class? Would That Be a Good Thing? on 26 Aug 2009 at 10:38 am #

    [...] powerful union tangles up the bureaucratic process, we may be looking forward to more of the same magical money tree [...]

  8. Ed is Watching » Who’s Surprised Stimulus “Magical Money Tree” Isn’t Funding Reform? on 10 Sep 2009 at 10:31 am #

    [...] me. Back in January, I told you that the stimulus bill — before it even passed — would blow dollars away from education reform. What? You doubt that it’s [...]

  9. Ed is Watching » D.C.’s Magical Money Taking Slow Road to Colorado School Districts on 14 Dec 2009 at 11:45 am #

    [...] someone blew the pixie dust off that magical money tree. Because first, the money blew away from real education reform. Now it’s making its way from [...]

  10. Ed is Watching » Don’t Make Parents Choose Between Finding a Better School & Obeying the Law on 31 Jan 2011 at 12:50 pm #

    [...] me? Did they really spend that much to investigate where the mom really lived? Maybe they have a magical money tree growing there, [...]

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