Education Job Layoffs Far Outpace Government Job Layoffs – What Gives?

A May 3rd article in the Orange County Register reports that year-to-date on the national level close to 15,000 jobs in public education have been cut due to budgetary issues. Trailing far behind in second place is government jobs, with nearly 9,000 jobs lost.

There’s something wrong with this. How is it possible that teachers and administrators in the public school systems are more expendable than general government workers? There isn’t anything more important than maintaining a safe, enriching environment in which our children can learn, grow and socialize, developing into contributing members of society. I understand that the support and infrastructure of our government is also vitally necessary to our country, but nearly twice as much so? I find that hard to believe. Education, children, budget cuts, California, schools, classroom, teachers, midlife, empty nest

I have an idea. Why don’t we cut the state and local government budgets in half. Let’s give each of our district representatives and state assemblymen and women twice as much to do by doubling their district size. I know they’re working hard already – I know they are scurrying around the 50 state capitals taking meetings and fielding calls from donors, constituents and the like. I realize that many of them commute from their homes far from the seat of their state government, sacrificing time with their families. But whatever it is they’re doing, whatever votes they’re casting or hands they’re shaking, it can’t be more important than teaching 4th graders in a low income school, or counseling teens with learning disabilities, or mentoring new teachers who are hoping to make a career in a rapidly decelerating market – education. I can’t believe I just wrote that sentence, but it’s true. Education is devolving into an afterthought in so many ways. For most public schools, volunteer help is what keeps the schools from collapsing under the weight of money needed for extracurricular activities, classroom management, supply replenishment, and so much more. Oh, and just to add a little bit more money to the coffers, we should require lobbyists to donate a small percentage of funds to the local schools of whichever congressman they are trying to snuggle up to – in 2011 $3.32 billion was spent by lobbyists in pursuit of increased business for their clients.

politics, minimum wage, government, education, government spending, budget cuts
A bit extreme, but you get the idea

Public education in the United States is rapidly becoming a sacrificial lamb. Just look at what is happening to the California State University system. The largest and, once upon a time, most accessible state higher education system in the country has had a whopping $1 billion, or 33%, cut from its budget over the last four years. Nearly 7% of its workforce has been let go. Tuition has been increased by 9%. If the Governor’s tax proposal does not pass in November, an additional $200 million will be cut, and in 2013 there will be a maximum of 25,000 students admitted to the 23 Cal State campuses for spring and fall – that’s for the entire year. There are currently 420,000 students enrolled in a Cal State school, so you can see how low that number is.
college, university, cal state long beach, budget, money, tuition, admissions, cal state admissions, empty nest, midlife

For the youngest of our children in California, this possible budget cut will further decrease the number of K-3 classes able to continue with the much valued 20-1 ratio that has been in place for years. It would also keep children who will turn five between November 1 and December 2 from enrolling in kindergarten, affecting some 40,000 children, as a new pre-k readiness program is put on the back burner.

There is no easy solution to these massive budget problems, but it is shortsighted to implement cuts that will so drastically disrupt and change our public education system from kindergarten through college. Education should be the last place cuts should be made, not the first, but by cutting twice as many education jobs as government jobs across this country it is obvious that there are choices being made – and none of them are for our kids.

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  1. Claudia says

    You said it Sharon, makes my stomach turn. It’s all about greed. My youngest is going to be a junior next year in high school. She has no chance of a state college. Her choices are JC, Private, or Out of State. She won’t even get into Long Beach State which when Alex graduated they took most Los Al kids. Makes me so sad. Let’s put you in office :)

    • says

      I agree that term limits would eliminate a lot of the problems with politicians and government. Unfortunately it would also rule out experienced and genuinely dedicated public servants from giving themselves to our country as a career. It’s a difficult balance, to be sure.

  2. says

    I’m not sure how it works there, but here– the school budgets are done by school district and the tax payers have to pass “school levies” in order to bring in more money to their district. I’m not sure who decides (the school board?) how the money is appropriated from there…but something I’ll have to look into now.

    Cheers, Jenn
    Jenn recently posted..OpportunityMy Profile

    • says

      My knowledge of government fiduciary policy is not very deep, but I do know that money is funneled down from the state to the districts, and then the districts can submit measures to be voted on by the local electorate to add funds for specific projects such as construction and the like. But the bulk of money comes from the top. I also am quite confused as to where all of the lottery money has gone…

  3. says

    Sharon, my children are all past this age, but now have their own children in elementary school. It is the saddest and most ridiculous thing about our economic downfall. Our future is not guaranteed because our future is not being educated to the standards of the world in which we live and they will need to work. It is unacceptable. Plain and simple. ♥
    Jo recently posted..My Aloha (The Hawaiian Wedding Song Parody)My Profile

  4. says

    I’m not sure how to respond to your post. We need to get the deficit under control. We need to cut spending. We need to eliminate loopholes. Where to begin, what to do…

    I’ve mixed emotions on education budgets. We need good teachers, but do we need them in the classrooms or supporting education programs? Personally, I believe our entire education system needs a bit of an overhaul, just like I believe the tax code needs to be fixed too. We need to be addressing the structural problems in our systems. This I believe will do the most good in the long run.
    M. J. Joachim recently posted..Writing Investigation #1 Follow-up – Blog RageMy Profile

    • says

      I agree with you that many things need to be overhauled and re-examined about our government and its processes. But while we are rearranging and redoing things, our children should not bear the brunt of the loss of tax revenue or the economic downward spiral we can’t seem to rise from. Our children are our future. I know a lot of college-age kids – my son included – who would love to teach, but the opportunities are disappearing, and the pay is so abysmal, that many of them opt to go in different directions.

  5. D Lemmerman says

    And yet look what we pay entertainers, sports figures, … How about those who seve? Really serve. Nurses, teachers, fire fighters, police, those are the ones that should be making the money. Or at least not having suchba gap in between!

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