Saturday, January 8, 2011

Where We're Headed

From Megan McArdle at the Atlantic, via kitchen table math:

Three years after the stock market cratered in 1929, American schools suffered their own crash. School districts had managed to ride out the early years of the Great Depression; in fact, because many districts depended on property taxes, which didn’t crash as fast as income taxes, more than a few managed to increase spending.

But in the 1932–33 school year, many districts ran out of funds. With more than one in five workers unemployed, many households didn’t have the money to pay property taxes, so all of a sudden, the school boards didn’t have enough money to pay their bills. Some 2,200 schools in 11 states closed entirely—in Alabama, schools in 50 out of 67 counties shut down. Many more districts cut services or sharply reduced their hours; thousands of districts in the Midwest and South shrank the school year to fewer than 120 days.

This is why I can't imagine that the Iowa school district that Chris blogs about will actually lengthen the school day. It would cost money, so it won't happen.

It's more likely that the superintendent will announce that the district can't afford to lengthen the school day, so they need to cut lunchtime again. Next year, it'll be down to 10 minutes. The year after that, they'll shut the cafeteria entirely, and the kids will be expected to subsist on crackers and water eaten at their desks during classtime.

I liked this quote from the article:

The economist Herb Stein famously said, “If something cannot go on forever, it will stop.”


1 comment:

  1. What was past is new again. NY Mayor for life, Bloomburg has closed 90 schools in his time there already.