The stimulus plan before Congress today more than doubles the Department of Education's budget, reports the New York Times. An unprecedented extra $150 billion in federal aid would provide funds for nearly every aspect of education, from school construction to college grants. Opponents and backers alike agree that the injection of cash could change the federal government's role in education forever.
Administration officials say the funding will provide sorely needed aid and prevent severe cutbacks. "This is going to avert literally hundreds of thousands of teacher layoffs," said Education Secretary Arne Duncan. Republicans call some of the proposals wasteful and argue against expanding the government's role in education. Some experts question whether the cash will actually boost academic achievement—and wonder what will happen when the windfall dries up in 2 years.