Monday, March 22, 2010

Stimulus money helped save teachers' jobs

Seattle, WA - Total education jobs are in an unprecedented decline, according to a new analysis by the Center on Reinventing Public Education in Seattle. However, the study demonstrates that Federal stimulus dollars appear to have played a significant role in saving teachers' jobs.

In paying for over 342,000 jobs, or 5.5 percent of total teaching jobs nationally, money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) mitigated what might otherwise have been a much steeper job decline, say the researchers at the University of Washington.

A year ago it was feared as many as 600,000 teaching jobs could be cut as states that help finance public schools faced glaring budget deficits.

Now, thanks in part to the ARRA stimulus dollars, those job losses are estimated at 87,019, less than one-sixth of the number thought to be at risk.

Analyzing current teaching jobs data available from 21 states, researchers Marguerite Roza, Chris Lozier and Cristina Sepe observe that the reduction in teaching jobs across the United States carries worrisome implications. Fewer younger teachers means an aging workforce, increasing imbalances in teacher pension funding plans, and a weakening of the regenerating effects of new, younger people entering the teaching profession.

"K-12 Job Trends Amidst Stimulus Funds: Early Findings" is a Rapid Response brief in the SCHOOLS IN CRISIS: MAKING ENDS MEET series, designed to bring relevant fiscal analyses to policymakers amidst the current economic crisis.