Heritage’s Brian Riedl published a new web-memo today examining the earmark projects in the Pork-filled Omnibus bill that’s being rushed through Congress. Riedl reports that the bill: “Includes approximately 5,224 earmarks, bringing the FY 2010 total to 8,939, with a pork-laden defense bill expected to push the final total over 10,000.”

Parents and taxpayers who are concerned about the condition of American education may be interested to review some of the large servings of pork that will be dished out by the Department of Education next year. (You can review the list of projects funded in the Labor-HHS-Education appropriations legislation in the Omnibus here. The Department of Education section starts on page 91.) The following is a list of some of the interesting education-earmarks:

  • Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa appears to have secured lots of pork for the Hawkeye state. The largest earmark is $7.3 million for the “Harkin Grant” program which subsidizes school construction and modernization.
  • The Utah-based “I Won’t Cheat” Foundation for anti-steroids education receives $250,000.
  • The Lincoln Center in New York City receives $800,000 for a jazz program.
  • South Salt Lake City, Utah receives $100,000 to expand ESL classes at the Villa Franche apartment complex.
  • The Rodel Foundation of Delaware gets $150,000 for its Parent Leadership Institute.
  • A dropout prevention program in Scottsdale, Arizona gets $150,000.
  • College football fans will notice that there is even some BCS-pork in the Omnibus. Fans at Boise State and the University of Iowa can celebrate $465,000 in education earmarks at their bowl games this year!

Of course, members of Congress will be quick to defend the merits of many of these earmark requests. But if the Department of Education’s mission is to improve education for all American students (particularly at-risk student groups), does it make any sense to distribute federal dollars this way? After all, why should the Des Moines school system receive $750,000 for a preschool program while most school districts receive nothing?

At the end of the day, American children are going to be the ones paying for Congress’s wasteful spending, given our ballooning budget deficit and long-term debt-burden. If Congress is going to be spending their future earnings on Department of Education programs, shouldn’t they at least spend it fairly and in some coherent manner?