Cutting to the Bone: How the Economic Crisis Affects Schools
This web-based report from the Center for Public Education—an initiative of the National School Boards Association—investigates the short- and long-term impacts of the Great Recession on state and local budgets and education funding. Its findings, at first glance, may be termed sobering: In 2010, forty-eight states faced budget shortfalls, with thirty-three of those states (and D.C.) cutting education spending. At the local level, 78 percent of districts cut their budgets. Nor do figures seem likely to improve for a while. As the CPE report states: “Federal ARRA and Education Jobs funds are simply tourniquets for hemorrhaging local and state education budgets.” That’s all true, but what do we make of it? Rather than face the music, CPE simply pleads for more bailouts. For instance, instead of using this moment to push for health-care benefit and pension-package reforms, the CPE laments these benefit reductions. The report concludes with an appeal for a “serious national conversation” to drum up ways to provide more funding for education. Yes, a serious national conversation on how to manage school funding is overdue. But we also must be candid about the economic realities of our education system—and do a better job of making lemonade out of this lemon of a situation.
Center for Public Education, “Cutting to the Bone: How the Economic Crisis Affects Schools,” (New York, NY: Center for Public Education, 2010).
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