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More money for education? Yes!

On Monday, the Senate is scheduled to vote on President Obama’s economic stimulus plan. (It passed last night in the House, but without a single Republican voting for it.) Here’s a big reason why moms should care about the outcome:

The plan would give a huge infusion of money--$150 billion—to our schools and child are centers, doubling the Department of Education’s current budget. Woo-hoo!

The emergency expenditures that President Obama has proposed, a two-year investment, would include money for the youngest students (Head Start) and the oldest (grants to college students), as well as for special education and, for the first time, school buildings and renovations.

As the New York Times said yesterday, it would be the largest increase ever in federal aid to education, and could “profoundly change” how education is funded.

In recent years, only 9 percent of what our country spends on public schools has come from the federal government—the rest has come from states and local districts. This plan would increase the federal percentage significantly. Which many people feel is crucial in these tight economic times: “This is going to avert literally hundreds of thousands of teachers layoffs,” said Education Secretary Arne Duncan.

The increase in money for early education is an investment that many of us at Parenting feel is crucial for our country’s future. Under President Bush, almost 1 billion was cut from Head Start, putting it out of reach for over 60 percent of eligible kids. (And during those years, the number of poor kids grew by 13 percent.) Under this stimulus package, $2.1 billion would go to Head Start (that means over 100,000 more kids would be served!). And a billion of that money would go to Early Head Start, a vital program for infants and toddlers.

Many people disgree with the details of President Obama’s stimulus plan, of course—but if you want to express your support for this increase in money for education before it goes before the senate, get in touch with your senator!