This post is published as a Web extension of our August 2012 Education Issue – our annual blow-out of all things educational. To read it in full, visit our e-store to purchase a copy or subscription.
By Clarissa Williams, Editorial Intern
As the recession continues to take its toll on education, the government is working overtime to implement programs and packages that will improve the education system in the United States. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act passed in February of 2009, promised to improve K-12 education. According to the Huffington Post in 2010, $79 billion was awarded to improved K-12 programs; in the summer of 2010 an additional $10 billion was added to prevent teacher layoffs. Despite the improvements the ARRA has created, the Huffington Post reports that challenges are still present within the education system.
Program cuts and increased class sizes are just a few things the ARRA prevented. However, in 2011, the stimulus money that the ARRA provided that helped to prevent these things began to run out causing more layoffs and less funding. This fiscal cliff, the K-12 educational system now faces, was not only caused by the decrease of stimulus funds, but also by the “unwillingness of states to raise taxes”, reports the Huffington Post. As a result, funding for K-12 programs has been left up to the local governments, something that has not happened in 16 years.
In October of 2011, The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities discovered that the funding states provided for schools, had been cut. Now, schools are being funded at a level lower than before the recession. The absence of funds in K-12 programs is one of the reasons why the economy is in its current state. In order for this to change, states must realize the magnitude of not having an education system that is at its best, and do what is necessary to improve it. Once this is done, we as a country can take a step towards improving the state of the economy.