After the 2008 global economic recession, the United States education system has seen drastic budget cuts as states try to cut on budget deficits and get back on their feet (Congress, 2010). The move to cut budgets on public education has taken many forms including implementation of a four day school week, increasing class sizes and reducing state help to students with special needs. These measures are however, impacting negatively on the standards and quality of education and other aspects of the economy in the counties and districts in which they are implemented. This study will seek to analyze the negative effects of budget cuts on education.
To start with, is the shorter school week. From the article, we are informed that, in South Dakota, close to 300 students from the district in south eastern South Dakota will no longer have classes on Fridays. This is because the schools have adopted a four day school week as a means of reducing costs and dealing with state budgets cuts. The positive impact of this is that, it will cut close to $ 50, 000 annually in costs. The move is being replicated elsewhere across the United States. There is bound to be a negative effect mainly on the standards of education. One of these impacts is that, due to the elongated period that they are out of school, they tend to forget what they have already learnt (BTimes Staff Reporter, 2011).
Critics argue that, children especially those from poor families usually return to school having forgotten what they had learnt earlier. This was the principle behind the failed Obama administration initiative of increasing the school day, the school week and overall the school year. In other instances, some schools do not comply with the rules set for increase in study hours on an average day. For example, an interim report on this program found that, Smith ridge elementary school in Reno, Nev., was using the 15 minutes added each morning for breakfast, as opposed to academics (Dillon, 2011).
Another effect of the reduced school week is that, it has led to increased class sizes. Reports show that, across the United States, millions of public schools have experienced increases in the sizes of their classes driven by budget cuts and teacher layoffs. This is a reversal of a trend that had started in the 1980s geared towards a smaller class. However, this has several drawbacks that negatively affect the quality of education. One of these is the increased fatigue on the teacher. An example of this is Racher Maher, a math teacher in Charlotte, N.C. She argues that, if a class of 25 gains 5 kids, that’s 5 more papers to grade, 5 more students that need make up if they are absent, 5 more parents to contact and send emails to, eventually Overwhelming the teacher. In addition to that, it reduces the rate at which the students grasp issues. Research conducted in the 1980s comparing classes of 13 to 17 in kindergarten through to 22 to 25 students in 3rd grade made several revelations. One of them is that, smaller classes significantly outscored the larger ones on achievement tests (Dillon, 2011).
The other negative effect of budget cuts on schools is its effects on community property taxes. In this, we will take an example of the state of New Jersey. Due to the declining funding on public education, the state of New Jersey has seen a shrink in tax revenues. Local property-tax incomes are expected to plummet as taxpayers in several neighborhoods vote out tax increases. In addition, tax assessments steadily catch up with the bust in home prices. Federal incentives financing, that under normal circumstances helped relieve the negative impact, is set to end after the coming school year (Merrick & Whitehouse, 2010).
In the state of New Jersey, this move has also curtailed the upward advancement of students who require special attention for them to advance. For example, a student named Kyle Scrapper; a 7th grade student will have to do away with math remedial classes. This, his teacher believes will hurt him negatively because the tutoring had helped build his confidence and push his grades from a D to a C. (Merrick & Whitehouse, 2010).
In conclusion, it is clear that, the budget cuts on public education have many negative effects to the quality of education in the United States. Starting with the reduced school week, this has the effect of interrupting consistency in learning and in the process reducing the students’ ability to internalize what they learn in class. This especially applies to students from poor families. The other negative effect is increased size. When the class size is increased, teachers are more overwhelmed by the volume of work and the speed of students grasping issues reduces. Lastly, is the fact that, overall it reduces the community property taxes as experienced by the New Jersey State. The case of New Jersey also brings out the fact that, students who need extra learning for them to understand are denied that opportunity and is likely to end up as failures.
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