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Stimulus Package Saved Teacher Jobs, Scholars Say

The Center on Reinventing Public Education has an important new analysis out on jobs data and the stimulus.

The bottom line: Although K-12 employment dropped by about 1.4 percent from 2009 to 2010, the federal economic-stimulus law paid for about 342,000 jobs over that time period, or 5.5 percent of total K-12 employment. In other words, it appears that the legislation did, in fact, save a significant number of teachers' jobs.

In all, the paper says, about 87,000 jobs were lost last year, in what is only the second decline ever in K-12 overall since 1993. But that's a lot fewer than the 600,000 that were projected.

Researchers Marguerite Roza, Chris Lozier, and Cristina Sepe collected employment data for the 21 states where it was available in 2010 to arrive at their estimate of a 1.4 percent decline in the workforce. Then they used a fiscal model based on states' 2008 employment and expenditure figures to adjust the data for 2010, and cross-checked this against the states' reported expenditures under the stimulus bill.

The researchers say that it doesn't appear that states used the stimulus fund to actually grow the overall size of their workforce, which would basically exacerbate the "funding cliff" once the state-stabilization funds run out. But reading this, I still have to wonder what's going to happen for states in which the economy hasn't picked up just yet. Will they be able to continue to make payroll for these employees whose jobs were saved—or did the bill just kick the can down the road a little farther?

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