I write this with a big sigh. Education takes the big hit overall. The K-12 schools will find their budgets cut drastically and teachers will lose their jobs. Sad. These cuts are so tough that I suspect school administrators will lose their jobs as well. No one is going to escape the hard times. The only hope on the horizon is that the state may get some money from the federal government. Having been in this spot before I can only say I am not holding my breath.
And as usual the teachers will not get any cost of living increases--those will be the lucky teachers. They will have a job.
Higher Education is going to be hit hard as well. For those who read this who believe that tenure will protect faculty, think again. Tenure allows faculty to study and do research with limited restrictions--that is all it protects. When money is scarce, faculty positions can be terminated. There will be a lot of professors who will be let go. If there were any good in all of this it will be the young professors newly hired in the past five years that will be released. They will be able to get a position with another university in another state and they will be able to start over. But it is hard. Again, I have been in the position before when eight of my colleagues were given their notice--their contract terminated. Tenured profs. I'm holding back tears as I write.
The worst thing about this economic woe is that there is not a good side to any of this. For example, Boeing just announced that it needs engineers and skilled workers. But the community college programs that train those workers will be reduced or in some cases cut entirely. The same with the engineering departments--the new young professors with the latest research and knowledge will be the ones let go.
The flip side is to raise taxes but that hurts many as well. Small businesses will lose customers if taxes go up.
There really isn't a good choice in all of this economy. So the teachers that are left teaching will take a deep breath and plan for larger classes and less textbooks and teaching materials. Kindergartens and pre-schools may be cut which will hurt the children most of all.
There is an interesting side in all of this--let's see if it happens again. Music and art if they have survived so far will be eliminated. But sports will go on. We'll still have coaches and team busses, uniforms and the like. Large universities will continue to compete on a national level. University coaches will continue to make good salaries. Strange. I wonder if girls' sports will be cut.... I would fight to keep that from happening but it has happened in the past.
So I moan and blather about the economy while my teacher friends go on doing what they've always done--teach students the best way they know how. Do I have any answers? Heavens no! I'm not an economist. I wish I knew what we should do. But given the past history of education the teachers will continue on teaching the children.
I wish all of you the best of wishes in this troubled times. I wish I had a magic wand but there isn't one. If you meet a teacher who has been laid off, offer to buy them lunch. If you meet a teacher who is still working, thank them for all of us.