Share Your Story: How Are Job Cuts Affecting Students in Your Community?
Tag AASA, Coldwater, Congress, Detroit, Dr. Lawrence Mishel, Economic Policy Institute, economy, Flint, Labor Day, Michigan, Obama, Ohio, Sophia Rodriguez, Steve Burroughs, teachers, unemployment, United Teachers of Flint, UTF
By Cynthia McCabe/photo courtesy of BarbaraLN
You see it everywhere around you — students whose parents are out of work, who need help purchasing basic supplies and even clothing and food. Stress levels elevated in your classroom, at home and in the community. And then there’s the matter of your own job and that of your colleagues, which every day seems to face a greater threat from state budget cuts and national economic woes.
With unemployment hovering at 9.1 percent nationwide, the impact of joblessness is felt deeply in schools, where education jobs and funding are increasingly in jeopardy. Take a look at some of the latest statistics on actual and anticipated job cuts in schools, from the American Association of School Administrators’ latest job cuts survey:
- 65 percent of school districts eliminated positions in the past school year.
- 74 percent will cut or eliminate roughly 17,500 education jobs this year. That includes about 8,500 teaching jobs, 3,186 education support professional jobs and 983 administrative jobs.
Based on those survey estimates, the AASA estimates 227,000 education jobs are on the chopping block nationwide this school year. That would be a devastating blow to public education and the students it serves and will have a negative effect on the nation’s chance of economic recovery.
“Every 100,000 education jobs lost will be roughly 30,000 jobs lost in other sectors due to lost spending and those laid off,” said Dr. Lawrence Mishel of the Economic Policy Institute.
In areas of the country that have been suffering with economic collapse for decades, the relationship between community job loss and education is devastatingly clear. In Flint, Mich., shuttering auto factories became the rock in the water that rippled out to affect schools, children and educators.
“This used to be a very active community, very crowded,” said former United Teachers of Flint President Steve Burroughs in a 2007 examination of unemployment’s impact on schools by NEA Today magazine. “That’s all gone now. Making kids continue to dream in this environment is our biggest challenge.”
On Labor Day, President Barack Obama will head to Detroit, where the focus will be on job creation. He will also address a joint session of Congress on the issue on Thursday.
Sophia Rodriguez, a high school Spanish teacher from Coldwater, Ohio, has seen first-hand the effects the economy is having on students and classrooms.
The daughter of a migrant worker, my parents came to Mercer County in the ‘50s so they could build a better life for me and my three siblings. I vividly remember that day my mother received her GED—I was in the eighth grade and my father, who didn’t have the opportunity to finish school, reminded us that education was the key to a better future.
Now I’m a classroom teacher. For more than two decades I have dedicated my life to education, and to creating opportunities for my students so they can help strengthen their own families and communities.
But I can’t do it alone.
Every year I return to the classroom, I see the changes. There’s no funding for field trips or money to buy new books. We’ve scaled back on staff and services. Students are clamoring to compete in a global society, but we can’t improve out-of-date technology or replace antiquated computers. For my students, the American dream is becoming more and more out-of-reach. And that’s simply not fair.
So as we head into the Labor Day weekend we’re giving you the chance to tell Washington how you are seeing joblessness in the community affect your students and school. Vote in our poll below to let us know what effects the economy is having on your students, or submit your own story through the form at the bottom of the page. We’ll even be featuring some of your stories on Education Votes next week.
This poll is now closed, but you can submit your stories below. Click here to read a wrap-up of the poll results and stories from our members.
Fill out the form below to tell us a story of how job cuts are affecting students in your community. Your submission may even be featured in an Education Votes article next week!