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Feds Offer More Stimulus Dollars for Schools, but Want Report Cards First

 Today’s roundup of stimulus coverage:

The Department of Education is ready to give states another $11.5 billion in stimulus funds, the Associated Press reports, but with some conditions. To receive the money, which comes on top of $67 billion already committed, states will need to cough up a range of information, including  a list of their lowest-performing schools, details of how they evaluate teacher performance, and the number of teachers rated at each performance level. In all, the department is asking for 35 pieces of information — 27 of which require new data or information. But the deal comes with an escape clause: If a state isn’t able to provide the data, it can still get the stimulus funds so long as it provides a plan to get the data by September 2011.

Liberal blogger Matthew Yglesias offers a defense, of sorts, for how the Obama administration structured the stimulus: with a focus on maximizing output as measured by GDP, rather than a push for jobs similar to the Works Progress Administration of the 1930s. This is a contentious issue, following Friday’s announcement that unemployment in October had passed the psychologically painful 10 percent mark. Yglesias argues that the output-over-jobs decision would have been right for a shorter recession, but given the prolonged employment the United States now faces, sacrificing growth for more jobs would be less damaging to the economy. Meanwhile, the National Review is less forgiving.

Finally, we’d like to direct your attention overseas for a moment, for a look at how other countries are progressing with their own stimulus packages — and, in some cases, winding them down. Time reports that Australia’s central bank has increased interest rates twice this fall, in what may be "the start of the global exit" from worldwide efforts to boost liquidity, or the amount of money circulating in the economy.

Other central banks are following suit, though more slowly; in turn, U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has warned other countries not to "put on the brakes too quickly," for fear of weakening the global economy and financial system. If other countries’ stimulus policies seem removed from the fate of the American economy, they’re not: Exports, which depend on the strength of other countries’ economies, account for some 13 percent of the U.S. economy, and an increase in exports last quarter contributed to the recent upturn in U.S. GDP.

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