Today budget cutters are on the rampage from coast to coast and often one of their first targets is public school teachers. What we have witnessed recently in Wisconsin is just one example of this. The truth is that you do not want to become a teacher if you want to have financial security in America today. Teacher salaries are being slashed from sea to shining sea. But to a certain extent the teachers that are having their wages cut are the fortunate ones. There are thousands upon thousands of teachers that have already been laid off, and there are tens of thousands more that are about to be laid off. It is absolutely brutal out there right now. So if you are thinking about becoming a teacher you might want to think twice. Not that there are a whole lot of other jobs that are more secure right now. The truth is that there is no such thing as a "safe job" in America today.
It is very unfortunate that what is going on right now is going to scare so many young people away from becoming a teacher because the next generation could definitely use some quality teachers.
But the truth is that it is getting really hard to honestly recommend that anyone become a teacher at this point. Just consider some of the following news stories that we have seen around the nation recently....
#1 In Providence, Rhode Island the school district plans to send out dismissal notices to every single one of its 1,926 teachers.
#2 Michigan has just approved a plan to shut down nearly half of the public schools in Detroit. Under the plan, 70 schools will be closed and 72 will continue operating.
#3 In New Jersey, Governor Chris Christie has laid off thousands of teachers and he cut a billion dollars from the state education budget.
#4 Bills in Wisconsin, Ohio, Tennessee, Indiana and Idaho would either significantly alter or completely take away the collective bargaining rights of public school teachers.
#5 The eyes of the whole country are on Wisconsin right now. Teachers there are very alarmed about the $900 million in cuts to school funding over the next two years that are being proposed.
#6 Clay Robison, a spokesman for the Texas State Teachers Association, recently said that his organization is projecting that 100,000 school employees in the state of Texas could lose their jobs.
#7 The current plan is for more than 4,500 New York City school teachers to be laid off after this current school years ends. This will be the most significant teacher layoffs in New York since the 1970s.
#8 In Los Angeles, more than 5,000 teachers will be receiving preliminary layoff notices due to budget cuts.
#9 Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval is being deeply criticized for the teacher pay cuts that he is proposing.
#10 StudentsFirst.org is projecting that 161,000 teachers across the United States are in danger of losing their jobs this year alone.
So in light of the facts above, should we advise any of our young people to try to become a teacher?
The worst thing about all this for young teachers is that in many areas of the country there is a rule that says the last teachers hired are the first ones that get laid off.
That is another huge incentive for young people not to choose teaching as a profession.
So why are so many teacher layoffs happening?
Well, the truth is that most of our state and local governments are very deep in debt and have run out of money.
State and local government debt has reached at an all-time high of 22 percent of U.S. GDP, and hordes of state and local governments are teetering on the brink of insolvency at this point.
When there is no more money, the cuts have to come from somewhere. It is just really unfortunate that so many teachers are going to be put out onto the street.
People that have gone into the teaching profession have all spent a lot of time and money to get the education that they need to teach. If they are told that they can't do that anymore, what are they supposed to do?
Most of the time when teachers are forced out of the profession they end up having to take jobs that pay much less. In this economy, many ex-teachers will not be able to find jobs at all. Today, one out of every seven Americans is on food stamps, and sadly many teachers may soon be joining them.
So why don't we just raise taxes so that all of these teachers can keep their jobs? Well, the truth is that middle class Americans are already being taxed into oblivion. When you add up the dozens and dozens of different taxes that Americans pay each year the overall tax burden is absolutely frightening. There is only so much that you can squeeze out of the American people.
No, the truth is that the American people are taxed way too much already, and the big corporations and the ultra-wealthy have become experts at avoiding taxation. Our current tax system needs to be completely scrapped and replaced with something entirely new.
If our state and local governments had not been so addicted to debt, and if our economy had been managed correctly and if about a hundred other things had been done differently we would not be having these problems.
But here we are.
Unfortunately, there does not seem to be any easy answers.
Or are there some solutions that most of us have been overlooking? What do you all think? What should be done about all of the teacher layoffs that are taking place all over the country? Please feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts below....