Predictions from the American Association of School Administrators show school budget levels won't return to normal until 2013 or later, which means layoffs and cuts are likely to continue. Hefling reports that about 294,000 education jobs have been lost since 2008. Full-day kindergarten or preschool was eliminated in 30 percent of Pennsylvania districts. Hefling reports that poorer districts, which are mostly rural, are hit hardest because they rely heavily on state money.
President Obama include $30 billion to protect teachers' jobs nationwide in his jobs bill, but Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said "the plan resembles 'bailouts' that haven't proven to work and only perpetuate economic problems." Some say districts haven't spent tax dollars wisely and didn't prepare well for the end of $100 billion in stimulus money. Karen Miles, executive director of the Watertown, Mass.-based Education Resource Strategies, said districts should use this time to focus on teacher quality and compensation based on performance. (Read more)