Obeying his masters

Patrick Gibbons

Few can resist the power of the Dark Side.

Rep. David R. Obey (D-Wisconsin) wants to steal a portion of the Race to the Top (RTTT) funds to “save” up to 300,000 teacher jobs. The RTTT grants were intended to encourage states to adopt meaningful reforms by holding a competition for the money. Incidently, the money constituted just 5 percent of an overall $100 billion stimulus bill for education.

All that money to sustain a broken system of K-12 education isn’t enough for Obey, as the teacher union wants to ensure that no teachers are laid off. High-end estimates suggest that as many as 300,000 educators could be laid off. But this represents less than 5 percent of the K-12 work force.

In order to fund the $10 billion “Keep Our Educators Working Act,” Obey wants to cut “about $500 million from the $4.35 billion Race to the Top fund, $200 million from the Teacher Incentive Fund that supports creation of pay-for-performance programs and $100 million from the Charter Schools Program.”

How come so many Democrats in Congress are concerned about funding jobs for adults and so few are concerned about actually educating students? I mean, with policies that actually work?

UPDATE: House passed a bill to raid the Race to the Top funds in order to pay for a $10 billion K-12 education bailout. Democrats slid education bailout into a supplemental appropriations bill for the war in Afghanistan. President Obama threatens a veto. The fight between reform-minded Democrats and the Dark Side continues.