Almost every school in the United States is struggling financially because of sharp declines in income and sales taxes caused by high unemployment rates and falling consumer spending from the recent economic depression. This is the first time that we have seen budget cuts hit at all levels of education
The federal stimulus package might have saved thousands of teaching jobs in education, but now thousands more are in peril as a result of lingering budget crises in states from coast to coast. These include positions in areas such as virtual-school programs, higher-education funding, and other school initiatives. “The federal stimulus funds have helped schools, but not as much as hoped," says Mark Bielang, president of the American Association of School Administrators (AASA).
When asked how their districts are using federal stimulus funds to bring about education reforms, 47 percent of respondents said that these funds are merely filling budget cuts and are not enough to support new innovations.
"This year is bad, but next year could be worse," says Daniel A. Domenech, AASA's executive director, in a statement. "School districts are bracing themselves for a 'one-two punch' as they budget for the 2010-11 school year. They will be facing tough questions about items, programs, and personnel that can be cut with the least impact on student achievement, considering what--if any--economic recovery is in store at the state and local levels, and contemplating the anticipated end of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds."
Educators will be asked to cut more next year. These cuts will be necessary due to declining state revenues caused by the ongoing national economic downturn. The budget cuts will hit programs like bussing, online education, and school closings. The city of Columbus has decided to close nine schools next year.
As jobs in education struggle, so too does our education system itself.