In an online report entitled “A snapshot of issues created by State fiscal crises and their impacts on public education, public school students, and public school employees (Publicly, 2010)” the total projected layoffs for teachers as of April 16, 2010 was 132,676. This report explains the grim reality that teacher cutbacks are directly correlated with property taxes (Snyder, 2003). The housing collapse, banking debacle, and the deepening recession have impacted the public school sector significantly. As a result of the decline in the economy teachers have been cut back and class size has grown larger thereby, affecting the quality of education for American children.
How will cutting back the number of teachers by 135,000 affect outcomes for the public education system and the nation? According to Eide and Showalter (2005) a lower teacher to pupil ratio has been shown to lower unemployment but school policy is usually geared toward improving educational outcomes on standardized achievement tests and not toward improving labor market outcomes. Understanding this distinction helps the casual observer to get a clearer view of schools attention to drop-out rates as one bench mark for determining the quality of education. Schools operate on the premise that students who graduate from high school are better equipped to be productive citizens in society. Therefore, schools have placed a great emphasis on student graduation (Menzer & Hampel, 2009). Losing over 100,000 teachers is neither good for the public school system nor the nation.
Losing teachers to budget cuts is not the only problem that school systems face. According to Flatt (2006), school systems also have a problem because at the end of the 1999-2000 School Year 287,370 teachers left the profession. The reasons teachers have given for leaving the profession includes pay issues, low administrative support, student discipline, low student motivation, lack of teacher input in school decisions and now the lack of job security (Flatt, 2006). Because of these issues the largest area of concern becomes how to retain the nation’s qualified teachers. Using budget cuts to lay off the very persons who make a significant contribution to improving our nation’s well being when schools are already struggling with teacher retention cannot be considered a good return on investment in the American public education system.
Eide, E. R. and Showalter, M. H. (2005). Does improving school quality reduce the
probability of unemployment. Contemporary Economic Policy, 23(4), 578-585.
Retrieved from ABI/INFORM Global database.
Flatt, J. M. S. (2006). Teacher retention. Phi Kappa Phi Forum, 86(3), 3-5. Retrieved
from ABI/INFORM Global database.
Menzer, J. D. and Hampel, R. L. (2009). Lost at the last minute. Phi Delta Kappan,
90(9), 660-665. Retrieved from ABI/INFORM Global database.
Publicly-Reported Layoff Numbers-Current as of April 22, 2010. Retrieved
September 12, 2010, from http://www.NEA.org/assets/docs/State_Budgets_
Snyder, N. M. (2003). The property tax and public education: Are state-initiated tax cuts
Sustainable. Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting & Financial Management,
15(4), 593-627. Retrieved from ABI/INFORM Global database.