Despite campaign claims from conservative candidates, no one in the state of Alabama can argue with the introductory sentence to this article on al.com:
A new study reveals that, since 2008, Alabama has made the second deepest cuts to per-pupil funding for K-12 students in the nation.
Although the writer, Madison Underwood, refers to a “new study,” this news isn’t new, nor should it be shocking. Since fiscal year 2008, the state of Alabama has cut K-12 education spending by 17.8%.
I’ve been teaching since the 2003-2004 school year, well before the recession of 2008 and 2009, before the Republican takeover of the Alabama’s state legislature in 2010, and before these cuts. The years since 2008 then have been a blur of mounting problems for teachers: staff reductions and attrition, take-home pay cuts due to increases in healthcare and retirement premiums, reduced supply funding to accompany increased class sizes, and the best efforts at support during hard times have come in the form of being told to “do more with less.”
Since 2010, Alabama’s state legislature has not only cut budgets; they have also diminished our job security, made it harder for our union to collect dues, eliminated the DROP program, and bragged about legislation that gives public funds to private schools. If funding cuts weren’t enough, these blatant attacks on public schools and their employees should make it clear what the deal is.
Tomorrow, on November 4, millions of hard-working Alabamians have a chance to remove and replace the people who have been cutting public schools. If we don’t take that chance, we will get four more years of the same thing. And four years from now, there’s no telling what that 17.8% will jump to. Please vote pro-public education next week!
The only other thing I can say is: God bless the children of Oklahoma, the only state with cuts more severe than ours. Their education budgets have been cut 23.6% since 2008. I don’t know how they’ve managed . . . but if we get the same crowd back in office, I may get to find out.