A recent post at Dark Brightness brought a newish trend to my attention: dramatic cutbacks in schools.
Now, he has 50 percent custody of the child, but the public schools in his neighborhood have pretty much stopped operating. The closest one to his home only operates from 8.30 to 11.30 each day. If the parent wants the kid to go to school onger for better classes, it’s greatly added fees for Mom and/or Pop... It looks like we are going to have two classes of children: those who can afford private education (home-schooled or private schools) and those who have no education. The State, at least in California, is out of the business: Now.. that police sergeant is a boomer, unionized, and does not care about the next generation. His kids through, and his grand kids no longer live there… or Grandpop is paying for them to go private.
Being a homemaker, I have the option to educate both of my children privately at a moment’s notice, so I tend to not be overly-concerned with the financial state of our local public schools (which are shortening the school day by 40 minutes and increasing class sizes, after cutting pre-K by one month this year). It appears that my general indifference has left me unaware of one of the most rapidly developing trends in our government.
Further evidence of this effect is everywhere, if you look for it:
- Garfield Heights, Ohio. Parents and students alike in the Ohio town are furious after sweeping education cuts went into place Tuesday. Those cuts have slashed the school day to just five-and-a-half hours and completely eliminated hot lunches, as well as music, art and physical education
- Huffington Post. The cuts are felt from Keller, Texas, where the district moved to a pay-for-ride transportation system rather than cut busing altogether, to Georgia, where 20 days were shaved off the calendar for pre-kindergarten classes. In California, a survey found that nearly half of all districts last year cut or reduced art, drama and music programs. Nationally, 120 districts – primarily in rural areas – have gone to a four-day school week to save on transportation and utility costs, according to the National Conference of State Legislators. Others are implementing fees to play sports, cutting field trips and ending after-school programs
- Las Vegas, Nevada. School years could be up to 10 days shorter to avoid layoffs during a financial emergency if a new bill passes. Members of the Assembly Education Committee on Monday considered AB117, which allows districts to apply for a waiver to reduce a school year to 170 days, below the 180-day minimum in Nevada statute.
- California. California’s ongoing budget crisis could result in 20 days being cut from public schools’ academic year… In the past two years, many California school districts have reduced their schedules below the 180-day calendar that was standard in the previous decade and remains the norm nationwide… Some see Hawaii, which slashed 17 days in 2009-10, as an example that drastic measures are possible.
- Michigan. He left the Legislature before it replaced the 180-school-day requirement with a minimum of 1,098 hours. That change also allowed schools to miss up to 30 hours of classes because of snow days without making them up. Effective this school year, the Legislature reinstated a minimum days requirement, but it’s only 165 days and will increase to 170 days in the 2012-13 school year.
- Stewart County, GA. Stewart County Superintendent Floyd Fort told News Leader 9 that the school system is exploring the possibility of a four day school week to save money. Surveys sent home to parents this week estimate the cost savings per year to be about $100,000. Fort says this would be beneficial because the school system was lacking $420,000 this year and that same number is expected for the next school year. The new schedule would put students in classes from 8 am until 4 pm Tuesday through Friday. Teachers would work 9 in 1/2 hour days plus 2 hours per week at home. All schools would be closed on Monday.
- Cypress, CA. (No quote, just check out their school schedule.)
And so on, and so on, etc.
What does this mean to the larger society?
- The end of school as babysitter for working mothers. Women can no longer count on the public school system to chauffeur and cage their children while they waste tax money socializing at work. They will have to go back to doing their real job, or spend more of their income on outsourcing this task to other people.
- A reflection of the fact that most American adults no longer have children in public school, and aren’t going to sacrifice for a service they don’t personally use.
- This means that parents will have to make up the deficit from their own pockets. Most of us have gotten used to the endless fundraising and pleas for cash contributions.
- Plunging property tax receipts mean shrinking revenues for schools, and show how tightly-linked school funds and home ownership are in America.
- More widespread homeschooling and after-schooling, as desperate parents have to “parent up” and teach their children what the schools fail to.
- Less school hours won’t lead to a dumming-down of the tests, or to lower test scores (in fact, test scores might actually rise), but to more homework. We’ll move to the model of shorter or fewer school days with hours of study at home, the same my son’s co-op uses, which makes children more dependent upon the involvement of their parents.
- Less time for thrills-and-frills like homosexual indoctrinization and sex ed. Stronger parental influence in some homes, more children alone at home in others.