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Instead of Stopping Teacher Layoffs, Congress Gave CEOs Tax Breaks

Our screwy budget priorities are contributing to an unprecedented decline in education jobs—and that's not good for the future of democracy.

Thanks to the recession the nation's school districts have seen their budgets slashed, leading to shorter school years, the elimination of vital programs, and the layoffs of hundreds of thousands of educators. According to a new report (PDF) from the Obama Administration, since June 2009 we've lost more than 300,000 education jobs. In the past year alone 77,100 education jobs disappeared.

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Teacher Layoffs Go Hollywood: Zooey Deschanel's 'New Girl' Character to Be Pink Slipped

She'll follow in the footsteps of 150,000 other laid off teachers.


It looks like the most popular elementary school teacher on network television, Zooey Deschanel's quirky, manic pixie dream girl character Jess on the hit Fox TV show "New Girl", will experience what over 150,000 other American educators have over the past two years. Jess is about to be laid off due to budget cuts.

Indeed, executive producer Liz Meriwether told Entertainment Weekly that Jess will have "to restart her life and figure out who she is and what she wants to do." And, says Meriwether, the show plans to let Jess "have a moment of questioning who she is, why she's a teacher, and if that's really what she wants to do."

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High School Students Are Occupying Public Education

A Bronx-based group called The Resistance has a 10-point list of demands to reform education.

As thousands of people of all ages marched around the country as part of the Occupy movement's "Day of Action" yesterday, teachers and students joined in to protest the devastating budget cuts wreaking havoc on colleges and K-12 schools. A group of secondary students from the South Bronx who call themselves The Resistance has developed a 10-point list of demands they say would put the "public" back in public education and give the nation’s children a quality learning experience.

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Hundreds of Teachers Agree: Budget Cuts Are Gutting American Education

At a town hall event, teachers were honest about how budget cuts make it harder to close the achievement gap.


Put 350 Los Angeles teachers in one room and the conversation is guaranteed to get heated. It certainly did at Sunday's taping of Education Nation, the four-part NBC news special focused on figuring out how to improve schools in America. Veteran NBC reporter Raheema Ellis moderated, and although she did her best to steer three sets of panelists and the audience toward hot-button ed reform issues—teacher tenure, using test scores to evaluate educators, training students for the jobs of the future, and closing the achievement gap—it was clear that the crowd was fired up about the implications of making long-term policy decisions about those issues at a time when education budgets are being gutted.

Ellis set the tone by sharing dismal statistics about how California has defunded education—$20 billion slashed from schools and 30,000 educators laid off over the past three years. Ninety-six percent of the teachers in the audience said more cuts will have have a "huge" impact on their ability to succeed with their students and will keep America from being globally competitive.

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