$150B Stimulus to Double Education Budget

$150B spending expected to permanently expand government's role in education
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 28, 2009 6:15 AM CST
A new high school in Lewis Center, Ohio, is seen under construction Thursday, Jan. 31, 2008. The economic stimulus plan will provide federal funds for the building of new schools.   (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato)
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(Newser) – 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.