Friday, November 13, 2009


by Andrew Gillen

I guess I'll weigh in on the Carey v Finn and Hess fight over whether saving teachers jobs was a good use of stimulus money. Finn and Hess said no, Carey said yes.

Luckily Kevin's co-worker Chad neatly summed up the big elephant in the room
It’s well known how difficult it is to fire a teacher
If in normal times it makes sense to get rid of ineffective teachers (see the Hanushek quote from this morning) but you can't (see the Chad quote above), then perhaps in abnormal times you should seize the opportunity to do so.

Moreover, that money was going to spent regardless of if it went to teachers - thus the economic benefit is a wash. The question is did spending that money saving teacher jobs put us in a better position for the long term than the alternative uses of the money. My initial reaction is no, but when you look at some of the other uses of stimulus money (like widening a road without moving the telephone poles first), who knows.

[Update: Carey and Finn continue to go at it. Finn does mention my point that the money would have been spent anyway]

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