Budgeting for Modern Academics: Educating in a Challenged Economy

Education is an ever-shifting field, but recent years have seen tension in what needs to change and the funding available to back those reforms. The Obama Administration’s educational agenda was hampered by the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. Budget cuts forced school districts to curtail hiring of new teachers and developing incentives for teachers to retire. Additionally, teacher–student ratios expanded even as class sizes increased.

Studies show (and have been replicated several times) that the influence of high-quality teachers on students is significantly more important than any other factors that have been identified. The teacher’s ability to make a genuine connection with each student is vital; however, this important element is being severely undermined in today’s educational environments.

School budgets are not the only entities affected by the economic crisis. Financial difficulties within students’ families also play a huge role in educational problems in the United States. Many American homes are dual-income, with both parents working one or more jobs to try to meet their financial obligations. With more parents scrambling to make ends meet, less time is available for parental involvement in the education of their children.

Parents have less time to teach their children basic fundamentals that were often taught at home when only one parent needed to work. With less time for parents to connect with schools, students may become unmotivated and put less effort into their schoolwork. They also may exhibit behavior problems at school and require more time and effort from school administrators, which in turn detracts from administrators’ efforts to improve schools.

The past decade or so has seen economic turmoil and global upheaval. Having to simultaneously deal with multiple areas of financial stress has left the U.S. government budget stretched thin. Has unsteady economic status affected your school? Has it affected you personally? How have you seen financial strain affect the educators around you?

To learn more about how education has handled economic and other plights over the centuries and where it may be heading now, check out our other articles on the subject of education and its historical trends.

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