The Impact of California's Budget on Schools and Family
California's Budget Cuts Kill Education
By Erica Mixson
Education is key. We hold the key to our future. But how can we save the future, if you can’t get an education? California is facing a budget crisis, and has no money as we all know. Our state is being forced to cut many jobs and services. Every time you turn on the television you hear about teachers and citizens being laid off, forced furloughs, rate hikes and other cuts due to our low budget. But why education? How someone could cut down on something so valuable to our lives and future.
Colleges all over the state are being affected by the cuts. Fewer classes, cut services and limited aid are affecting students all over. Spring 2010 at Southwest Community College, and other colleges throughout California, education had to put on hold for many students. With thousands of people being laid off and out of work many are going back to school. However, due to recent budget cuts even education may not be an option for some. The lucky few of us are sitting in class continuing our education, while thousands are fighting to enroll in a single class. The future will be lost without education. Not only have our community colleges been stripped of services but universities, and even K-12 schools. Learning without books, music classes without instruments, and standing because there’s nowhere to sit, are only a few things young scholars have had to endure these past couple of months.
Kindergarten through twelfth grade has taking an even larger cut than the colleges. Proposition 98 will result in $1.9 billion dollar cuts for k-12, and a final total of funding for child care and development programs would be cut by slightly more than $300 million. There union members and district staff are being forced to take pay cuts and furlough days resulting in 154 million dollars worth of cuts. Measure E on the June 8, 2010 ballot would put a hold on k-12 education cuts. Innocent children are losing programs that would persuade and prepare them to go to college. Something has to be done to fix the gap in funding.
University students are also feeling the pressure with the same money shortages forcing them to reduce their student population and increase education rates. CSU’s consist of 23 campuses, closes to 450,000 students, and 46,000 staff members. The CSU system had been around for nearly 50 years, and have awarded as many as 2.5 million degrees. Students are now being forced out; you can no longer enter a university during the spring semester despite the demand for education and qualified students.
As of July 9, 2009 California State Universities were forced to eliminate spring semester enrollment at all CSU’s as part of a solution to a portion of the budget cut. Although, there are still a few acceptations for enrolling for spring a vast majority of applications will not be accepted. More bad news that we have had to bear with, July 6,2009 all CSU’s stopped accepting applications to the short convent winter 2010 semester, with exceptions for a selected few. In a normal school year without a restricted budget CSU’s regularly enrolls more than 35,000 freshmen, undergraduate transfer and graduate students during the spring semester. Over the past couple of year our CSU’s have been exceeding the funded amount for each student to attend college, because of that CSU’s are looking to decrease enrollment by 40,000 for the 2010-2011 school year.
Teachers are also feeling the heat due to the cuts. According to a 2010 article by Brandon Ortiz, more than 22,000 teachers and school employees have received pink slips. These slips have notified them of possible layoffs if a budget is not meet. Jack O'Connell, California’s superintendent of public instruction strongly disagrees with the cuts and layoff but is forced by our current governor to prepare for and tolerate this decision.
Revealed a recent interview with a California junior college English instructor, teachers now have fewer choices of classes to teach at a limed time and day of the week. The cuts are also costing them an enormous amount of lost income; some are even being forced to take pay cuts. To some these cuts are resulting in one of the worst shapes the school system has ever been in. Teachers are being bumped back down to part time, some with no classes at all to teach. Students are not the only ones who are affected by class sizes. Teachers have to go out of their way to accommodate classes of a larger side. A teacher cannot teach to their best ability when they have to put up with classroom overcrowding. They have a harder time grading and giving special attention to the student who need it.
California desperately needs to create a budget for education because we are losing more than the state realizes. Possibly raised taxes and decreased spending would be a solution. Less money spent on things that are already taking care of such as police, prison systems, war and state department spending. Stopping bail outs will also help as well as raising the cost of many reasonable public services such as buses and gas ect.
According to a Los Angeles Times article, by Carla Rivera, California community college enrollment is down 1% percent due to budget slashes. That is about 21,000 students that missed out on their education this spring semester at our local colleges. Our states solution to cuts in our education is to focus only on core subjects and not recreational classes or classes of lower enrollment. These reductions are very likely to continue for the next few years, unless state funding increases. This is making it harder to create a brighter future for our struggling students. There are 112 community colleges in California which over 2.9 million citizens receive their education at annually.
Something has to be done before anymore cuts can be made. The California school board association has filed an historic school finance lawsuit against the state, but will this do any good? Or city and state needs better representatives and better alternatives than slashing education. According to a Los Angeles article by Lawrence Myers, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has spent only 11% of his time working on city business. And Mr. Arnold Schwarzenegger recently proposed an additional $2.5 billion reduction to public school funding, on top of $17 billion in cuts over the past two years. What happen to no child left behind? Students and teachers all over the state have walked out, rallied and protested but our cries don’t seem to be heard.
In the mean time, our students have to just hold on as tight as possible. We can rally and protest however, the bottom line remains we just simply need money. In order to let them know we have to show up and write letters attached with proof and statistics. Show them our grades, how well many students are doing despite of the cuts, and express how we are being unfairly punished. If keeping our education means sitting in an overcrowded classroom, then that just simply needs to be tolerated. Some education is better than none at all. Students who are of age to vote should get involved in decisions that affect the way we learn and are taught. Put our heads together and get deeper involved in our educational decisions because together we can make a difference.
Meyers, Lawrence. “Los Angeles: Tyranny of a Bankrupt City” biggoverment.com 23 May 2010
McKinley, Jesse. “California Students Protest Education Cuts” nytimes.com 5 March 2010
“Budget Cuts Force CSU to Close 2010 Spring Admissions.” Calstate.edu. 2009
Cifarelli, Darren, Southwest Community College English Instructor. Personal Interview. 2 June 2010.
Ortiz, Brandon. “Massive Wave of Teacher Layoffs Predicted.” Fightforcafuture.com
Will Things Change?
(Editorial) By LaShawn Enriquez
Life is what you make it. Some people’s struggles help them learn how to be stronger, and some let it take over their lives. You have to learn how to make the best out of what’s handed to you. People are loosing their jobs everyday and have no where to turn, being that everyone money is tight they can only do so little. "With the economic case for tackling climate change stronger than ever, the financial crisis provides an opportunity, not an obstacle," says Nicholas Stern, "As the world faces up to the worst global financial crisis since the 1930s, the economic case for tackling the global climate crisis is more compelling than ever.”
In the article, My Family Lost Its Home , a young girl discussed how her father lost his job, and had to settle for something less but it was quick. McKaylee knew her family was going through something because she had seen a lot of changes happening inside her home. Later on they had to move because their house went under foreclosure and they were forced to move out. The family had move into a rental house, but it was more affordable for their budget.
The economy has affected so many people, and everyone ask will things ever change. “The people in this world are so use to having jobs for years plus and forget about saving for a rainy day.” Interviewee Davion Walker Quoted. When they loose their jobs they feel as if the world is ending and its not. It’s definitely a struggle, but you have to be strong enough to not let that hold you back as an individual. No one said life would be easy, but no one said it’ll be hard you just have to live your life and make the best of it.
Time is only wasting, so why wait for eventually. We can’t sit around as people and do nothing about what the economy has caused our lives as well as others. So many people with degrees have lost their jobs due to the economy, and have killed themselves over this crisis. It’s sad because no one thought things would get this bad; it should never get to the point to where you want to kill yourself and leave all your loved ones because you lost your job. We have to put a stop to this madness.
You often hear people say the world is coming to an end. I don’t believe that statement; I feel as if everyone has ups and downs not just the poor, the wealthy and the rich. This is a time where people should be coming together and working and figuring out how to make things better, because the government isn’t trying hard enough. Its not only homes and jobs people are losing to the economy its education as well. So many students either can’t afford school anymore, or the classes they need aren’t being offered. Teachers are loosing their jobs as well and students are stuck with learning nothing.
Reading this article Fixing the Native Economy, it discussed how people feel the government doesn’t have all the answers to the problems were facing with the economy. "We can't tackle each and every problem that requires attention by simply throwing money at it, throwing it around like pixie dust hoping that some of it will miraculously cause something new to happen or something magical to happen." (Wherry Vol.122). I think people were offended by what he said, because a lot of people do feel money will change the economy but his thing is money can’t change everything. They don’t have money to throw for things to get better with the economy and its crisis it has caused.
During my interview, I spoke with a young man named Davion Walker who worked for Wachovia Bank. He was making good money well enough to provide for his family. Davion was the provider in his house so he took care of all the bills as well as miscellaneous stuff. He was working for Wachovia for about 6 months, until he got laid off due to the economy. It was devastating for him and his family because they didn’t know how they were going to make ends meet. “After I lost my job I thought I would commit suicide or something I didn’t have anyone to really turn to and my family depended on me” Davion Quoted. The unemployment rates were so high and it was so hard to even get through. His family seen things going upside down, but they prayed and knew god would make away. Mr. Walkers mom tried to look for work, but he told her NO because he would find away for them to make it. The family nearly lost their home but the mother knew the manager and they lived there for over 30 plus years, so he understood and gave them time to pay their rent. “It was a blessing and all I could do was thank god because no one else could work miracles like that” Davion Walker.
After I did this interview it made me, as a person look at life and how I go about things. I have a job its not enough money, but I have to be happy with what I am making because there’s someone out there who’s not even receiving a paycheck. The economy and its downfall are affecting the world in some kind of way people are losing family members, friends, education and their jobs.
We as people need to come together and help each other. We need more support groups, and people who has actually been through these crisis and have gotten out of it like the Bertrand’s Family in My Family Lost Its Home. They have a group called Moving Forward which helps others in the same situation they got into. The people are able to bring their children to the meetings while the adults talk and they have activities for them as well. I believe we should have more people who would stand up and do these good deeds because if we did less people would be asking “Will Things Change”.
Stern, Nicholas. "Decision time." New Scientist 24 Jan. 2009: 26+. Academic Search Elite. EBSCO. Web. 5 June 2010.
Wherry, Aaron. "FIXING THE NATIVE ECONOMY." Maclean's 122.31 (2009): 20-21.Academic Search Elite. EBSCO. Web. 5 June 2010.
McCollum, Sean. "My Family Lost Its Home." Scholastic Choices 24.5 (2009): 17-19. Academic Search Elite. EBSCO. Web. 5 June 2010.