Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Problems of Creating Jobs With Government Grants

I have a friend, Christa, who often has interesting stories to tell in response to my columns and she's given me permission to post any of them here that I think my readers might enjoy reading.

In the past, before she knew better ;), Christa was a government school board member and here's a story she tells in response to my column asking whether increased government jobs are the answer.

Creating a job with a government grant is one of the worst things any government official can do. It will come back to haunt everyone involved.

Say the government wants to give you a grant to hire a Reading Recovery teacher for two years. That sounds fine and dandy, right? Free services for our kids (at least that's the way everyone looks at it 'cause that money grows on trees and all).

So what happens at the end of two years? You have a bunch of parents used to getting Reading Recovery for their kids, and now they suddenly think their children can't survive without it.

And inevitably that teacher who you hired with the grant just happens to be one of the good ones (maybe the only good one you can find in your entire district), but she also happens to be the lowest person on the seniority scale. You have to let go of the only decent teacher you've come in contact with in 10 years, and ALL the parents are furious. You're the horrible, mean board that can't manage to find the money to keep the pleasant Reading Recovery teacher once the grant runs out.

But you're still stuck with those 30 grumbly NEA-militants who just won't go away.

And of course everyone knows you could come up with that Reading Recovery teacher's salary if only you cared about the children. Or what's even worse is when over half the board just can't stand to be accused of not doing all they can "for the children" so they keep the Reading Recovery teacher and just keeping spending your local district into oblivion with no regard for the local taxpayers because it's "all about the children."

Just saying what could happen if one were to create a job with a government grant.

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