Sequestration: Public-school Kids, Teachers the Big Losers

Here we are at the end of another school year, and, once again, teachers throughout the United States are facing uncertainty. Will they have a job next school year, and, if so, will their classroom balloon to unmanageable sizes? Congress has not acted, and now the impact of sequestration on federal educational programs is beginning to take hold.

According to The Atlantic, the worst victims of the education sequester are special-needs students and poor kids—the students who need our protection the most. […] Title 1 (federal support for low-income school districts) and Head Start […] serve these children. The Department of Education’s financial support is up to 25% of educational spending for special-needs students. Of the $78 billion in federal spending on elementary [and] secondary schools, half goes to Title 1, special education and Head Start. [One-]third goes to support school lunches, improvements and aid. The National Education Association estimates that 7.4 million students and 49,365 school personnel will be affected as the sequester takes hold. School districts are obligated by law to provide services to special-education students, [b]ut with these cuts, […] children with the most needs may be crammed into crowded, unsafe classrooms and […] receive less speech or physical therapy. Other consequences of these cuts may be more subtle—school districts becoming more reluctant to classify kids with disabilities […] and local districts reducing art and music education for non-special-education kids to make up for this budget gap. […]

So why would anyone in their right mind want to be [a teacher], a job that is constantly under attack? […] We all know that when there is uncertainty in our job[s] or in our lives, we don’t perform [as well]. We worry about getting a paycheck at the end of the week, how we are going to pay the mortgage, and what [e]ffect all of this will have on our family. Uncertainty creates doubt, which undermines our performance and, in the case of teachers, will rob our kids of the quality of education they deserve.

With Congress involved, [as well as] state and local politicians, how can one parent or concerned citizen make a difference and help our teachers help our kids? There is a wonderful group, the National Teachers Assistance Organization, that is taking donations for professional assistance for teachers. At Donors Choose, public school teachers post classroom project requests, and you can donate to the project that most inspires you. At Start Donating, they match donors with teachers in need of supplies. […]

This is also the time ordinary Americans need to be communicating with their representatives in the House and in the Senate. […] [A lack of] action on their part has caused […] crucial programs like Head Start and special education to fail [those] needing the most help. Just about every teacher I have ever known teaches because they want to help others and are passionate about what they teach. We need our teachers to focus on their passion and not have to worry about if they are the next ones to lose their jobs because our political leaders could not act to protect the educational system [that], for so many years, has been the backbone of our society.

As our teachers finish this school year and start to prepare for the next school year, let’s hope our leaders come to their senses before it is too late for our kids and, in the long run, the future of this country.

Original article here:

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.