Teacher Appreciation Week: Is Your State Short-Changing Schools?

We’ve spent this entire week expressing our gratitude to teachers who work tirelessly at building the foundation of the future, but as Teacher Appreciation Week 2011 comes to a draw, it’s time to ask a few tough questions.

Amidst the rancorous debate around the national debt, federal spending and state budgets, it’s important to keep in mind that our budgets ultimately reflect our values. And considering the heavy cuts that state funding for education has taken in the past three years, we have to ask: Are we investing in our children’s futures?

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Though the cuts detailed above are drastic, it’s worth remembering that we were spared their full impact because of subsidies from the federal government in the form of stimulus spending. In other words, when states slashed the amount of money they gave to schools, the federal government picked up some of the slack. Going forward, that won’t necessarily be the case. Stimulus money has dried up and the current discourse concerning federal spending in general is to decrease it. With many states following the federal government’s lead in reducing spending, schools nationwide may soon face a funding crisis of epic proportions. Where does that leave our schools? Where does that leave our children? What does that mean for the future of our country?

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