Since the end of the recession three years ago, 300,000 educators have lost their jobs—7,000 in the last month alone, according to a new White House report. These startling numbers have led the Obama administration to sound the alarm on education spending cuts across the country.
In Investing in Our Future: Returning Teachers to the Classroom, the White House highlights some of the financial woes of many school systems: 292 took drastic measures, such as shortening the school week to 4 days, eliminating full-day kindergarten, and laying off hundreds of thousands of teachers to remain financially solvent.
This report is the first to comprehensively tally the cumulative effects of teacher layoffs on class size over the last few years. In his remarks about the report, President Obama reflected on how these changes have negatively impacted America’s competitive advantage: “At a time when the rest of the world is racing to out-educate America, these cuts force our kids into crowded classrooms, cancel programs for preschoolers and kindergarteners, and shorten the school week and the school year. That’s the opposite of what we should be doing as a country.”
Education Secretary Arne Duncan has noted that in re-writing NCLB, the administration supports “shirting away from class-sized based reduction that is not evidence-based,” and noted that high-performing school systems in Asia have larger class sizes.
Some are questioning whether the Administration’s rhetoric stems from campaign-consciousness, or whether education is coming into its own as an important social and political issue that the next administration will be willing to address.
To read Investing in Our Future, please visit http://www.whitehouse.gov/