Editorial by Danielle Ackerman, [email protected]
As a lifetime Alaskan who was educated only in public schools and married into a family full of educators, I feel an immense obligation to express my concern regarding the outrageous and acutely influential budget cuts that our public schools could face. Closing the potential $29.4 million budget gap will force the Anchorage School District to cut more than 100 teacher positions. While there would be cuts in most programs in the school district, I believe the elimination of teacher positions will be the most detrimental. By all means, I can recognize the necessity of a balanced budget, and I understand there are economic realities that our state is facing, but there is no exception for this drastic of a cut that will affect so many people.
The elimination of more than 100 educators in our public schools will not only affect the livelihood of educators and their families, but most of all, the students. There is an abundant number of students who are already not meeting their potential due to the shortage of employees and larger-than-normal classrooms.
I know of many new teachers who are very concerned for their positions, as they were recently hired and are not considered “tenured.” There are numerous graduates every year who have just earned their bachelor’s degree in education and will be subject to unemployment and or taking a job that they are overqualified for due to these cuts. Before any decision is made, I hope that there are changes made in order to strengthen our investment in public education and make sure that all students have an even playing field.
The formula that has been used is in need of reform. Obviously this will not be an easy task, nor will it happen overnight. Our public schools will need strong leadership and collective will power in order to prioritize education, as it should be. There is truly nothing more important than ensuring that our future leaders are educated.