It is no secret that the economy has been—and still is—in trouble. The economy is in such dire straits that when schools are discussed, words like budget cuts are so engrained into our vocabulary that no one flinches or even bats an eye.
Oregon schools cut thin
It is no secret that the economy has been—and still is—in trouble. The economy is in such dire straits that when schools are discussed, words like budget cuts are so engrained into our vocabulary that no one flinches or even bats an eye. Oregon is considering cutting programs to cover the lack of state funding.
Schools need to be restructured, but for the most part, the public is just sitting back and watching as school days are slashed, teachers are laid off and programs are cut. Where is the outrage as class sizes grow larger and larger? Where is the fire in the belly?
Portland Public Schools Superintendent Carole Smith has proposed cutting the equivalent of 178 teachers, reducing high school faculty by 10 percent and eliminating elementary and middle school physical education. Finally, some outrage has surfaced with that possibility.
It is sad that this is what it might come down to. Physical education has been a part of schools for a very long time and, with the country’s childhood obesity rate rising, it continues to be important.
If you cannot cut physical education, what else is there to cut? School days have been cut, teacher positions have been cut, salaries have been cut and even administrative positions have been cut.
Schools are running out of things to cut out of their budgets, yet positions are still being eliminated across the board. Nearly all of the Portland area metro districts are expected to eliminate staff positions, ranging from 15 in some areas to 180 in others.
Schools have been dealing with these cuts every year. Each plan to cut the school budget is only a setup for the following school year. Maybe what the schools need are bigger plans—plans that extend past the 2010–11 school year. Maybe then so many people’s jobs and student programs and classes will not be floating up in the air.
Every year, schools are scrambling to find a Band-Aid to fix the bullet holes in Oregon’s state budget. Programs are bound to be cut, class sizes are bound to overflow and positions are bound to become nonexistent. That is what Oregon does when it is in economic turmoil; it hacks at the schools. It has simply become the norm.
Maybe that is the reason so many people just appear to be sitting back and watching these cuts happen. But what can be done? Are schools so far in debt that there is nothing else that can be done? Is Oregon too far in debt?
Schools have been nipped and tucked so badly in their structure that they would fit in perfectly in Hollywood with its surgically-enhanced stars.
Is the answer to Oregon’s economic crisis to continue to cut schools down to the bone? The economy is still spiraling down the tubes in peril. Cutting more and more school days, jobs and programs is not the answer. What should be done differently?