By Daniel B. Wood, The Christian Science Monitor
Fri Mar 21, 4:00 AM ET
Los Angeles - California, home to 1 in 9 American schoolchildren, is on the brink of what may be the biggest public education crisis in state history. Facing a $16 billion state budget shortfall, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has proposed $4.8 billion in school-funding cuts, or 10 percent of education spending.The budget crisis and enrollment drops are already being felt at my university. Usually in economic downturns people go back to school. This time, I have a feeling (a) people won't have enough money and (b) public institutions like mine will have priced themselves out of the market. Strap in--here we go!
In the past week, over 20,000 preliminary pink slips were sent by school districts to teachers and administrators state wide, according to the California Teachers Association. The association estimates another 87,000 (of a total 350,000 public school teachers) could come if Governor Schwarzenegger holds to his budget cut request.
Some say the request is a cry of "wolf" intended to draw public attention and force stalemated politicians to reconsider the cuts - or raise taxes. Others say fiscal reality will push the cuts through as presented.