Secretary Arne himself weighed in on the crisis:
Secretary of Education Arne Duncan estimated that state budget cuts imperiled 100,000 to 300,000 public school jobs. In an interview on Monday, he said the nation was flirting with “education catastrophe,” and urged Congress to approve additional stimulus funds to save school jobs.
“We absolutely see this as an emergency,” Mr. Duncan said.
Now the Obama administration have over $3 billion sitting around from the first stimulus bill that Duncan and Obama have put into the Race to the Top competition, but they refuse to give it to states unless they "innovate" schools with programs like replacing teachers' salaries with merit pay programs, tying teachers' evaluations to test scores, adding longer school days and school years and building expensive "data-tracking" systems in order to collect, collate and analyze student and teacher performance data.
In fact, the two states that won the first round of the RttT competition are using most of the extra federal money for computer systems to track data, not to keep teachers on the payroll or lower class sizes.
So when Duncan says states are facing economic catastrophe and he thinks Congress should appropriate more funds to help them, you can be certain that those funds, even if appropriated by Congress, will only be available to the most "innovative" of states.
They will come with lots of strings attached.
And the strings will require states to use the extra money not to keep teachers in classrooms or after school programs going but to purchase data tracking systems and put merit pay programs into place.
It is a real emergency these days in public education, but not only because times are hard and budgets and jobs are being slashed in districts all across the country.
It's a real emergency because the corporate whores running the country do not give a shit about any of that and only see this as an opportunity to force permanent "education reforms" they want onto schools all across the country.