Think back to your favorite teacher. What pops into your mind? It probably isn’t learning decimals or conjugating verbs. It’s probably how that teacher made you feel – the support, encouragement, and connection. We remember the teachers who saw we could do better and pushed us. Teachers who took the time, patience, and interest to really understand us made a lasting impact. Where would society be without all of the kids who became doctors, scientists, social workers, engineers, and educators because an amazing teacher saw a spark and nurtured it? It would impact us all -and it might become a sad reality. Many teachers’ jobs are currently in jeopardy due to education budget cuts and defunding schools.
300,000 teachers may lose their jobs due to education budget cuts.
The sudden halt in the country’s economy has directly caused a nosedive in revenue of the public school systems. Additionally, states are cutting their budget for education by 15-20%. For many schools across the US this could mean a near 40% deficit. These gauges to education funds could mean the loss of around 300,000 teachers nationwide. These cuts will do more than put teachers and school staff out of a job and reduce the number of materials available to students. The loss of funding will cause the foundation of our nation’s future to corrode.
Relationships with teachers are crucial to student success.
Most students spend over a thousand hours each school year with their teachers. These hours are filled with much more than learning phonics or how to solve for x in an equation. Teachers build connections and security that make it easier for learning to occur. They comfort kids who are hurting because their parents are divorcing or they didn’t get the part they worked hard for in the school play. Teachers stay after school or come in early to offer extra help to struggling students. They make up silly songs to help their kids memorize facts and stock their cabinets with snacks for those who don’t have enough food at home. They apply band-aids to paper cuts and help mend broken hearts with a listening ear. Teachers advise clubs and coach teams – often without extra pay. They get to know each student’s personality, strengths, challenges, and interests, then use that knowledge to guide learning. They teach life skills, such as how to fill out job, scholarship, and college applications. Teachers introduce kids to the literary giants and historical figures that inspire them to dream big and change the world.
Teacher relationships impact student involvement, academic and social skills, and the overall dropout rate. Research shows that students have better attendance and lower dropout rates when they have teachers who make them feel safe, cared for, and connected at school. Teachers are overwhelmed with state assessments, evaluations, documentation, and grading, but they keep giving their all – and then some – to their students because they know how important their role is. Teachers will continue to show up day after day, despite burnout and the threat of a virus, as long as they still have jobs after the devastating slashes to school funding.
Kids need teachers more than ever.
The simple truth is students need their teachers, maybe now more than ever. Relationships between students and teachers became even more critical because of Covid-19. Teachers went above and beyond to stay connected with students by hosting Zoom sessions, visiting students’ homes, calling and emailing at all hours of the day or night, and showing up to cheer them on as they received their drive-thru diplomas. Traumatized children are going to be coming back to classrooms filled with new rules, policies, procedures, setups, and fears. Most will need extra reassurance and many will need help getting caught up after such a long time out of the classroom, not only academically, but also emotionally and socially. Who will help our children get back to learning and preparing for life with education budget cuts taking hundreds of thousands of teachers out of schools?
So what do education budget cuts really say? They say, teachers, the most important link connecting our children to schools and education, are expendable. Defunding teachers will rob children of the future a great teacher would have helped them unlock. Where would we be without teachers? Unfortunately, we might be about to find out.