US – Teacher Layoffs – A White House Report

The White House has released a new report that finds that the loss of teachers and other education staff is forcing communities into difficult choices that harm our children’s education and future, including increasing class sizes and shortening school years and days.  The report shows that more than 300,000 local education jobs have been lost since the end of the recession – a figure that stands in stark contrast to previous economic recoveries. As a result, the national student-teacher ratio increased by 4.6 percent from 2008 to 2010, rolling back all the gains made since 2000. Increased class sizes have negative consequences for the future of America’s children at a time when education has never been more important to finding a good job and maintaining our competitiveness as a nation.

“This year, several thousand fewer educators will be going back to school.  Since 2009, we’ve lost more than 300,000 education jobs, in part, because of budget cuts at the state and local level,” said President Obama. “Think about what that means for our country.  At a time when the rest of the world is racing to out-educate America; these cuts force our kids into crowded classrooms, cancel programs for preschoolers and kindergarteners, and shorten the school week and the school year.  That’s the opposite of what we should be doing as a country.”


  • More than 300,000 education jobs have been lost since the end of the recession. Since the end of the recession in June 2009, the economy lost over 300,000 local education jobs. The loss of education jobs stands in stark contrast to every other recovery in recent years, under Republican and Democratic Administrations.
  • The loss of teacher jobs can mean larger class sizes and difficult choices for schools. The national student-teacher ratio increased by 4.6 percent from 2008 to 2010, rolling back all the gains made since 2000. Further layoffs in 2011 and 2012 mean that the student-teacher ratio will continue to increase as we enter the 2012-13 school year. From Florida to Ohio to California, districts have faced teacher shortages, have cut preschool and kindergarten programs, and have shortened the school week and school year.
  • The President’s plan would prevent teacher layoffs and invest in comprehensive reform and strengthening of public education. The President’s plan would provide $25 billion to prevent layoffs and support hundreds of thousands of teacher and other education jobs.
  • The House Republican Budget would slash education funding. The budget passed by Republicans in Congress would cut non-defense discretionary spending by almost 20 percent. If cuts were distributed evenly, this budget would imply $2.7 billion in cuts to basic Title I education grants, meaning that nearly 38,000 teachers and aides could lose their jobs as a result of cuts to Title I spending alone. Cuts would also be made to early childhood education and special education, significantly impairing schools’ ability to best serve their students.

The recent recession has left the nation with a significant shortfall in teacher staffing compared to pre-recession staffing levels. This decline stands in sharp contrast to what has happened during every other post-war recession and recovery, under Democratic and Republican Presidents alike. While private payrolls added 172,000 jobs in July 2012, public sector employment, and in particular, local education jobs, have continued to decline. The economy lost 7,000 local education jobs in the last month, 77,100 in the past year, and 312,700 since the recession ended in June 2009. By comparison, private-sector businesses added 1.9 million jobs in the past year and 3.4 million jobs since June 2009.

This decline in local government education employment is historically unprecedented.

– – –

A look at the available data shows that the nationwide student-teacher ratio increased by 4.6 percent from the fall of 2008 to the fall of 2010, from 15.3 to 16.0. As documented in Figure 1, this increase in the student-teacher ratio erased a decade of gains. Moreover, since the fall of 2010, the last date for which we have the student-teacher ratio data, local governments have cut about 150,000 additional education jobs – meaning that the student-teacher ratio has almost certainly increased further.

via New Report Highlights Impacts of Teacher Layoffs, Need to Invest in Education | The White House.

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