The Associated Press, which has been a little blue of late, tells us that the nation's trepidatious economy is affecting youngsters in the worst ways: "Children will walk farther to the bus stop, pay more for lunch, study from old textbooks, even wear last year's clothes. Field trips? Forget about it." (Not to be glib, but with childhood obesity grown commonplace, wouldn't longer walks, pricier lunches, and being forced to fit into last year's pants do some kids a lot of good?) Several economically squeezed districts, AP reports, have even instituted four-day weeks to save on utilities. In these perilous times, what won't schools cut? Staff, apparently. The AP mentions not one district that has fired some of its lowest-performing teachers. In the real world, of course, a company that encounters financial hardship looks to rid itself of its least useful or necessary employees. We know that the United States employs far more public-school teachers than it actually needs, and sadly, we also know that the least capable and most unnecessary of those excess educators will remain snug in their classrooms--through good times and bad.
"Back to School: Shaky Economy Hits Kids," by Libby Quaid, Associated Press, August 18, 2008