Senior Director of State Fiscal Research
States have imposed large cuts in general education spending — as our new report details and I explained yesterday — with serious consequences for students, schools, and the economy. Deep state funding cuts have led to job losses, slowing the economy’s recovery from the recession. Such cuts also have counteracted and sometimes undermined important state education reform initiatives.
School districts began cutting teachers and other employees in mid-2008, when the first round of budget cuts began taking effect. By 2012, local school districts had cut about 330,000 jobs. Since then they’ve added back some of the jobs, but they’re still down 260,000 jobs compared with 2008 (see chart).
Deep cuts in state spending on education — including those job cuts — can limit or stymie education reform efforts. Reforms endangered by funding cuts include:
These recent cuts may cost states much more in long-term economic growth than they save. The cuts that states have enacted will weaken the future workforce by diminishing the quality of elementary and high schools. At a time when the nation is trying to produce workers with the skills to master new technologies and adapt to the complexities of a global economy, large cuts in funding for basic education undermine a crucial building block for future prosperity.