When President Obama came into office, one of the first problems he addressed was the economic recession. Obama’s administration passed a $787 billion stimulus package; almost $100 billion of that stimulus package went straight for education.
In October 2009, officials said this stimulus saved 250,000 teacher, administrator, and other education-related jobs.
But now, less than six months later, many public schools are facing the financial danger of not having enough money to pay teachers, facilitate extracurricular activities for students, and offer elective classes.
One state that is really struggling with the economic recession is California. In order to make ends meet, many California public school districts are considering teacher layoffs and smaller paychecks for the lucky teachers who get to keep their jobs. This would also cause larger class sizes, and less individual attention for each student.
“I’m worried they’re not going to have the quality education that’s going to make them competitive in a global society,” said Michelle Parker, a mother who has three children in the San Francisco public school district.
If school budget cuts occur across the country – as is most likely to happen – experts predict it will “weaken the nation’s public schools, worsen unemployment, undermine President Obama’s education goals and widen the achievement gap between students in rich and poor districts.”
“It’s cataclysmic. It hasn’t been seen since the Great Depression,” said Bruce Fuller, an education professor at the University of California, Berkeley. “Now you’re talking about sizable layoffs and further increases in class sizes.”
There isn’t an easy answer as to how to solve this problem. I think another economic stimulus might be a good option, but we can’t keep spending money that we borrow from foreign countries and increasing our national debt.
Maybe taxes should be raised in order to supplement public school funding? Or maybe public schools should cut sports and extracurricular programs, since students can join teams and clubs outside of school? But none of these options really sound like a good idea. We are stuck between a rock and a hard place.
What do you think should be done to help fund public education?
Via the Associated Press