Rep. Boehner: Saving Teachers Just 'Pads Bureaucracy'

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A school filing cabinet, a stapler, a teacher—they're pretty much one and the same to House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio), who now characterizes efforts by Congress and the Obama administration to help stop as many as 300,000 teacher layoffs next year as a scheme to "pad the education bureaucracy."

In a May 14 statement, Boehner said he opposes a $23 billion federal supplement to help school districts avoid layoffs in 2010-11 school year. "Another $23 billion to pad the education bureaucracy will only make state governments more dependent on the federal government."

Boehner's comments offer the flip side of an argument that many critics bring to public education policy today: When it comes to assigning blame, there is nothing more important than a teacher; when it comes to keeping them in the classroom, money spent on teachers is on a par with outlays for Post-it notes.

AFT president Randi Weingarten called out these have-it-both-ways arguments when she addressed delegates to the NYSUT Representative Assembly this month. These "reformistas," she said, "grab the biggest bullhorn when it comes to calls to fire all the teachers, but won't even let out a whisper when it comes to [pushing for resources] that keep teachers teaching."

May 17, 2010