Teachers need our appreciation now more than ever. All across the globe teachers today are struggling with painfully low budgets, making it nearly impossible to supply their classrooms with the materials they need, give their students the attention they deserve, and create a safe and steady learning environment.
Last Friday, teachers in Arizona returned to work after a six-day strike protesting the state’s budget cuts. The strike ended because legislative lawmakers agreed to give the teachers a 20% pay raise, along with a budget increase. The only catch, however, is that the new budget will be coming from a tax raise for those living in low-income school districts. Meaning, these tax raises will only really affect working-class and middle-class households and will not affect the wealthier households directly.
A strike against a decrease in school budgets also took place last month in Oklahoma City, where tens of thousands of teachers gathered in protest. They were fighting a system that has decreased their schooling budget by more than 30% over the last decade, leaving their school infrastructures in such a bad state indoor volleyball games are often cancelled due to rain that pours down from the ceiling and their textbooks are crumbling to pieces.
Image Via The Daily Dot
Teachers aren’t just struggling with unrealistically low budgets in the United States, however; In England, a survey was released today showing that 90% of teachers claim to have taken money from their “pupil premium” funds in order to fill in the holes of the budget. The pupil premium funding is a resource meant to help students from low-income households strive in school. Teachers are frustrated they’ve had to dip into these funds on multiple occasions in order to afford the supplies they need; worried about how this will negatively affect the students relying on these sources.
Statistically speaking, school budgets began to decline in 2009, immediately following the recession. Since then, there’s been a steady decline in budgeting for schools. In 2017 alone, schools cut budgets by more than 7%. These budget declines have led to curriculums and after-school programs being cut, teachers and other faculty being laid off, and classrooms being overpacked with students.
Image via Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
Budget cuts don’t just negatively affect teachers; the entire school faculty is being negatively affected. Librarians have been fighting hard to keep their positions within schools; as have coaches, band directors, theatre directors, and more.
Last September, this list detailing the ways schools can help fight budget cuts was released. Still, despite their best efforts, it’s impossible for anyone to do their job correctly if they aren’t given the means to do so.
So today, make sure the teachers in your life know just how much you appreciate their endless compassion, selflessness, and support. Stand beside them in the fight. Teachers are a necessity. So much of our future as a society depends upon the quality of our schools. Without steady schooling, children aren’t being given the opportunity for a fair and proper education. We need to listen to our teachers; they know what they need.
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“Listen to one another like you know you are scholars. Artists. Scientists. Athletes. Musicians. Like you know you will be the ones to shape this world. Show me how many colors you know how to draw with. Show me how proud you are of what you have learned. And I promise I will do the same.”
-Sarah Kay, Mrs. Ribeiro
Featured Image Via Liberation News