Saving School Jobs

September 9, 2011 at 11:55 am

The jobs plan President Obama announced last night includes a promising proposal to help get the economy moving and build a stronger future:  support for schools to retain and hire teachers and other employees.

Three Years of School Job Cuts

Most states have cut elementary and high school funding to help close large budget gaps since the recession started, and widespread cuts are continuing this fiscal year, as our recent analysis detailed.  A few states have cut support by more than 20 percent per pupil since before the recession, in inflation-adjusted terms.

Over the last three years, localities across the nation have eliminated 293,000 jobs — most of them in the past year (see graph).  A large number of private-sector jobs have likely disappeared as well, as school districts cancel or scale back purchases of items such as textbooks.

These job losses are slowing the economy as a whole, since people without jobs buy less, and the ripple effect threatens other jobs as well.

Without the emergency federal aid the President proposes, even more jobs would disappear in the coming year, as state education funding cuts continue.

Saving those jobs and allowing schools to hire back some laid-off teachers and other workers makes sense on two levels.  It would help the economy get moving now:  Moody’s Analytics estimates that the aid to states would add 135,000 public- and private-sector jobs in 2012.  And it would help build a stronger future: if this nation is going to continue competing successfully in the global economy, we can’t afford to have our teachers standing in the unemployment line.

Print Friendly

More About Michael Leachman

Michael Leachman

Michael Leachman joined the Center in July 2009. He is the Director of State Fiscal Research with the State Fiscal Project.

Full bio | Blog Archive | Research archive at

1 Comments Add Yours ↓

Comments are listed in reverse chronological order.

  1. Jay #

    How about some intellectual honesty? Why don’t you show that bar graph going back to say 1999? Or point out that while the population ages 5-17 grew by less than 2% from 1999 to 2009, the number of local government education jobs increased by 9% from 1999 to present?

    Local governments overspent during the housing bubble, which included over staffing primary and secondary schools, even though the baby-boomer echo generation is finished high school.

Your Comment

Comment Policy:

Thank you for joining the conversation about important policy issues. Comments are limited to 1,500 characters and are subject to approval and moderation. We reserve the right to remove comments that:

  • are injurious, defamatory, profane, off-topic or inappropriate;
  • contain personal attacks or racist, sexist, homophobic, or other slurs;
  • solicit and/or advertise for personal blogs and websites or to sell products or services;
  • may infringe the copyright or intellectual property rights of others or other applicable laws or regulations; or
  • are otherwise inconsistent with the goals of this blog.

Posted comments do not necessarily represent the views of the CBPP and do not constitute official endorsement by CBPP. Please note that comments will be approved during the Center's business hours. If you have questions, please contact

× 1 = three

 characters available