And tonight is Jimmy's birthday party, so I may not be back in the swing of things 'til sometime tomorrow.
In the meantime, I've just this moment stumbled across a New Yorker post about President Obama's "stimulus jobs":
It is common to say that we are in the midst of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. The structure of the economy in which that crisis is occurring is very different than during the nineteen-thirties, of course. Just how different is highlighted in this chart (pdf file) from research by Anthony Carnevale, Jeffrey Strohl, and Nicole Smith, of the Center on Education and the Workforce at Georgetown University. They estimate that the Obama Administration’s stimulus bill will create about 3.7 million jobs—and that just over half of those jobs will require some college education. A remarkable fourteen thousand eight hundred jobs, they estimate, will require post-doctoral work.
Jamie P. Merisotis, of the Lumina Foundation for Education, dropped by our offices the other day and mentioned this Georgetown research. Lumina seeks to drive the rate of college completion in the United States from its current level of just under forty per cent to sixty per cent. The U.S. once led the world in this area; now, among rich industrialized countries, we are tenth. The current leaders (over-achieving Finland among them) put about fifty-five or so per cent of their populations through college.
In general, much of the education spending in the bill is delivered as direct transfers to states to help them retain teachers and administrators at a time when local and state tax revenues (from which our school K-12 public-school systems are funded) are collapsing. Even this block transfer money is being used to coerce prospective reform—in particular, by forcing states to develop new plans to collect information on school, teacher, and pupil performance. This information in turn will presumably be used to strengthen the “No Child Left Behind” law if and when it is renewed over the next couple of years.
Schooling the Stimulus