Education: Against All Odds

The state of American education amid recession as they try pulling out all the stops

John Andrew Estialbo
Staff Writer

America’s sour economy is starting to spoil another fruit: education system. Surely enough, the distinctive diversity with which the American education uplifts itself from is beginning to feel the impact of recession. “It’s gotten so that some people would even consider flat funding to be good,” complements Rutgers University professor Steven Barnett as he reports that nine states–Alabama, California, Connecticut, Florida, Iowa, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina and South Carolina–have declared partial excision of subsidizing preschool curriculums.

The gap recession is making

The prospect was simple back then. By 2002, the budget came as close as five million dollars to increase enrolment and integrate the importance of early childhood education. Seven years after, the National Head Start Association says two of the largest state-funded preschool programs lost 13% of their subvention. Rutgers Graduate School of Education contends that, “in most states, expenditures on pre-K are entirely discretionary and therefore easier to cut than expenditures for some other program.”

Higher education systems are no less exempted. Sterling College, Vermont, is nearing closure unless the state provides at least $350,000 to increase enrolment. Nine other colleges have stopped giving degrees to prospective students whilst some, like Waldorf, is auctioning itself.

The crisis would incise at least $55 million worth of programs, translating into at least 14,000 students and 3,000 careers, and more districts are receiving huge cuts in their funds. California’s cut alone amounted to $1.1. billion, and states like Tennessee and Louisiana have been cutting a total of $399 million.

With a reading literacy rate of 98%, education is America is among the predecessors of quality, diverse education and academic exactitude, with some states spending almost $13,000 per K-12 and high school student to maximize the potential they could garner in the future. Its global competitiveness alone could attest to the kind of investment that the country has over education. The Philippine education system almost looks identical to its former settler, while the Chinese government has expressed interest in switching into Montessori pedagogy which Americans have institutionalized.

Light at the end of the tunnel

With its competitiveness on the brink of descent, pulling out all the stops will be harsh; but as the belief that edification does not wane, so would great efforts not. True to its promise, the Obama administration has already allocated more than one billion subsidy from the stimulus package for Head Start school alone, while California would receive $500,000. This would ultimately equate into more grants, particularly to low-income students, which would

increase annually. With a re-energized view of research, the sciences would see growth in research and study as the stimulus improves data coordination among universities and schools. Education secretary Arne Duncan argues that, “for every dollar we spend on these programs, we get nearly $10 back in reduced welfare rolls, fewer health care costs and less crime.”

But the stimulus is just an impetus. Since higher education hones useful skill sets for students who would enter the work force, the Winchester Business Institute posted a growth in enrolment from high school graduates as they pack day classes while conscious employees, wanting to advance, attend in the evenings. “When the economy is tight, people are more conscious of the skills they need to upgrade for their jobs, and they look to college,” reasons school Vice-President Robert Pruner. Selectiveness in the employment pool aside, the 25% increase in enrolment for the school could also be attributed by proactively seeking students to mitigate the revenues and cut financial aids. Community colleges, despite an ever deep budget cut, have increased their enrolment–so much so that 24,000 day and continuing classes are held. More parents are opting to have their children go into private schools to boot, which is up by 33%, with advantages of non-overcrowding and pedagogical focus on the student.

Calls for action are being declared, and while the administration may as well be doing its greatest effort, with what the American Recovery and Investment bill is trying to accomplish, the almost soon-to-be dispirited country should come to see that local leadership may motivate a culture of determination and initiative that would prove to be a pragmatic attitudes nowadays.

Enrolment growth is expected to rise by 20% next year despite the crisis, and while this could pose a great challenge in how the educational system could accommodate such growth, it could only mean that public confidence should be able to prioritize and motivate.

Of course, the way out could be ironic. Re-integrating the importance of education encourages opportunities and ventures in technology, standards and communications. This is echoed rightfully so by Wendy Kopp of Teach for America, a non-profit organization for school reforms, mentioning how the educational system could actually prove to be a part in recovering from recession. “This is the time to invest,” she says, “where we can see transformational changes in the hands of incredible teachers, and I hope we do everything we can to channel the unprecedented talent and energy that present themselves right now.”

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