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Massive Teacher Layoffs in California Possible; 25% of Detroit Schools Shutting Down

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According to the California State Education Department, the state’s K-12 public schools employ over a quarter million teachers – 307,000 or so. Just shy of 22,000 – or roughly seven percent – recently received pink slips in the mail. These are preliminary notices and, if last year’s history repeats itself, only 60 percent will actually be jobless when all is said and done. The final tally is unclear as it won’t be determined until the state’s budget for the next fiscal year is finalized.


“Less government support for education will translate into more layoffs.”

Schools still have time to issue additional pink slips to “classified school employees such as bus drivers, maintenance workers and cafeteria staff, and as many as 10,000 could be facing unemployment,” according to Robin Hindery’s report at dated March 15, 2010.

Governor Schwarzenegger’s spokesman, Aaron McLear, reports education is to be funded at the same level as last year – they’ll deal with the state’s $20 billion deficit in other ways.

If that’s the case, why the exercise in wasting $10,000 in postage?

Perhaps it’s because despite the governor’s reassurances, and the state’s receipt of 2009 stimulus grant funding, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell is talking about the fact that California didn’t win anything in the first round of grant applications for a piece of the $4.3 billion “Race to the Top” money. “Last year’s stimulus money saved thousands of jobs,” O’Connell notes, and he predicts “less government support for education will translate into more layoffs.”

What, exactly, might the hard-earned tax dollars of American citizens help save if California manages to get some cash from Race to the Top’s round two?

“According to a 2009 report by the Institute for Democracy, Education and Access at the University of California, Los Angeles, California schools rank at or near the bottom nationally in academic performance, student-teacher ratios in middle and high school, access to guidance counselors and the percentage of seniors who go directly to four-year colleges.”

IN ADDITION – A March 17, 2010 Associated Press article reports that 25% of Detroit’s Public Schools (44 of 172) are shuttering up come June as the district deals with a $219 million budget deficit. This follows on the heels of 29 school closures last fall. The plan is to close six more schools in 2011; seven more in 2012.

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