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The economy is still in critical condition and when the economy is poor, corners have to be cut financially. Education suffers just as much as the rest of the nation. Many politicians and policy makers think education should be cut because we do not produce a “product.” We all know that  budget cuts made to the educational system only hurt the children. When our children suffer, our future suffers, and then ultimately, our nation suffers.

When education spending is cut, that usually means cutting teachers. When that happens, individualized attention is cut because class sizes increase. It shortens instruction time because with larger class sizes there are more discipline issues. With increased class sizes, there is more difficulty achieving affective differentiation for students at a variety of levels. Professional development time is lost because of the need for increased paperwork duties. After school tutoring programs disappear. Preschool programs are cut, despite how essential those are for laying the foundation for our schools.

We are past the point of “a good teacher can handle a few more.” It is more than a few now. Many teachers have two classes packed into one. These are not college seminars. Our students deserve a classroom where the teacher can speak with them and work with them individually. With a classroom of 35, even the best teacher cannot monitor 34 students while working just with one.

Also being cut are our para-professionals, custodians, and office workers. These essential educational workers make the schools run smoothly, and are just as important as the teachers. It takes a village to raise a child and educational para-professionals are an essential part of our village. They teach the students organization, responsibility, and respect outside a classroom environment. Without them, our schools would fall apart, and I am not referring to the building.

Cutting educational spending means there is less money for materials, especially technology. Computers are old and board projectors are going out. Our students are losing access to programs that help them keep up with the rest of the world. We are making do with old, outdated textbooks. Old maps that still have the Soviet Union on them hang on the walls. Teachers must make tons of copies because our books do not line up with Common Core Standards and then we run out of copy paper and use our own money to make copies. Teachers are reinvesting their own money into the classroom is this fair? Is it right to ask an employee to spend their own money to sustain a business?

When a district is considering moving school start time up to 6:50am and stagger times throughout the other schools to get fewer buses on the road to save money, there is a problem. When there are boxed fans in classrooms to help cool off classrooms because the A/C needs to be replaced and cannot keep up with the heat, there is a problem. When a school is built to hold 1500 students are over 2500 students there because there is no money for another school, there is a problem. When a school is surrounded by twenty butler buildings, you get the picture.

Cutting educational spending is not limited to elementary and high school. College funding is being cut as well which leads to increased tuition. Many of our students cannot afford college and are relying on scholarships, Pell grants, and student loans which are sometimes tied to educational funding. Our students deserve an opportunity to attend college, especially if they earned it through grades and hard work. Students deserve financial help when they are trying to better themselves because when our students receive an education they are investing in our society, our community.

When we cut educational spending, we are cutting our children’s future. We are telling them they are not worth the extra money. We are telling them to make do with less. While this is a great moral lesson, can we really afford to make do with less as we continue to fall behind the rest of the world?

Budgets are important, but our students should not have to suffer for our mistakes. Only with an education can our future students help fix what is broken.

Alice has been teaching for fourteen years. She currently teaches English I, English III, English...

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