High School Students Explain How Budget Cuts Have Hurt Their Schools

Classes with 50 students, students with no desks, and one science teacher for an entire campus: Welcome to the world of high-school budget cuts.

Education cuts have become routine over the past few years, and the billions slashed from school district budgets are making it more difficult for students to learn. Indeed, the results of a survey of 1,850 Los Angeles County high school students by the independent teen-produced newspaper L.A. Youth reveal just how much the cuts are affecting them.

Thanks to teacher layoffs, class sizes at some high schools have skyrocketed to 50 studentseven in math and English classes. Some 37 percent of students report that they sometimes don't have a desk to sit at. Sixty-seven percent say overcrowded classrooms make them feel like the teachers don't have enough time to teach, and 30 percent say they've been unable to participate in a program or classlike AP coursesbecause it's no longer offered at their school.

At a time when tech literacy is an essential skill, 52 percent of students say there aren’t enough computers. Or they're often broken, and there's no one to fix them. Despite a court ruling that all Los Angeles Unified School District students must have the books they need, 51 percent say they've had to share textbooks with a classmate because there weren’t enough copies to go around. Fifty-seven percent also say they've had to copy information projected by an overhead because their school didn’t have enough paper to make copies.

"We have only one science teacher for the entire high school," writes Felix Ruano, a 16-year-old student at the Ambassador School of Global Leadership, in L.A. Youth. He goes on to describe how that teacher, who is only credentialed to teach chemistry, is teaching physicsor, at least, is attempting to do so. "He shows physics videos and we teach ourselves from our textbook," says Ruano. And, as has been seen elsewhere, "all but one of the restrooms" at Ruano's school "have been closed because we don’t have enough custodians to clean them."

Ruano notes that despite the challenges caused by funding cuts, there is a bright spot in the data: 97 percent of his peers say they plan to go to college. But without "properly trained teachers and the best resources," says Ruano, it's not likely that every student will achieve that goal. "Unless schools fix these problems," he says, "students could lose hope."

Photo via (cc) Flickr user RDECOM

via David Leavitt / Twitter

Anyone who has ever worked in retail knows that the worst thing about the job, right after the pay, are the unreasonable cheapskates who "want to talk to your manager" to get some money off an item.

They think that throwing a tantrum will save them a few bucks and don't care if they completely embarrass themselves in the process. Sometimes that involves belittling the poor employee who's just trying to get through their day with an ounce of dignity.

Twitter is rallying around a gal named Tori who works at a Target in Massachusetts after she was tweet-shamed by irate chapekate, journalist, and Twitter troll, David Leavitt.

Keep Reading

Childbirth is the number one reason American women visit the hospital, and it ain't cheap. In fact, it's getting more and more expensive. A new study published in Health Affairs found that the cost of having a baby with employer-sponsored health insurance increased by almost 50% in the past seven years.

The study evaluated "trends in cost-sharing for maternity care for women with employer-based health insurance plans, before and after the Affordable Care Act," which was signed into law in 2010. The study looked at over 657,061 women enrolled in large employer-sponsored health insurance plans who delivered babies between 2008 and 2015, as these plans tend to cover more than plans purchased by small businesses or individuals.

Keep Reading

A meteorite crashed into Earth nearly 800,000 years ago. The meteor was 1.2 miles wide, and the impact was so big, it covered 10% of the planet with debris. However, scientists haven't been able to find the impact site for over a century. That is, until now. A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal believes the crash site has been located.

Tektites, which are essentially rocks that have been liquefied from the heat of the impact and then cooled to form glass, help scientists spot the original impact site of a meteor. Upon impact, melted material is thrown into the atmosphere, then falls back to the ground. Even if the original crater has disappeared due to erosion or is hidden by a shift in tectonic plates, tektites give the spot away. Tektites between 750,000 to 35.5 million years old have been found in every continent except Antarctica.

Keep Reading
The Planet