By: Bob Lucore
School is starting again, but as President Obama said Saturday, there will be fewer teachers waiting for the students this year.
The White House has issued a new report titled Investing in Our Future: Returning Teachers to the Classroom. The study finds that:
Readers will recognize that the underlying cause of the decline in school employment is the misguided notion that deficit reduction should be America’s highest priority. State and local governments are legally required to balance their budgets. When revenues are low, as they have been since the recession, cuts are inevitable. The federal government has a unique role to play at such times, because it can borrow money (currently at record low interest rates) and provide aid to state and local governments.
Those who place the highest priority on deficit cutting often claim we are robbing future generations by overspending. Such claims totally misunderstand the nature of government borrowing. When our nation borrows, it is not borrowing from our children; it is borrowing from those who buy government bonds. If the debts are passed down to the next generation, so are the assets (the bonds) held by those to whom the debt is owed.
A sure way to endow future generations with a better economy is to invest in better education now, so that today’s children will grow-up to have the skills necessary for tomorrow’s economy. Investing now means the economy of the future will have higher-earning workers and more assets to pay off its debts. Cutting education now means less ability to thrive in the future.
Teachers and other education advocates have not always seen eye-to-eye with the President’s Education Department. Nevertheless, the President has long proposed a comprehensive plan to strengthen public education, prevent teacher layoffs and provide $25 billion to local governments to help hire teachers. Both the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers endorse this proposal.
Meanwhile, the House Republican budget involves substantial cuts in education funding, and the GOP has continually obstructed the President’s proposal. Candidate Romney says class size does not matter and students should get as much education as they can afford.
Bob Lucore, a long-time ADA board member, is the former Director of Research and Policy for the United American Nurses and has worked for the Teamsters and the Department of Economic Research at the AFL-CIO. . He taught economics for several years at Centre College and Colorado State University and is currently studying Library and Information Science at San José State University.Back