Boston is the 26th-wealthiest city on the entire planet, according to a Brookings Institution report, yet it is declaring it can’t afford to invest in its future. The city is slashing its school budget, laying off hundreds of teachers and support staff, and lengthening student commuting times. How does an allegedly progressive state let this happen?
First, the gory details. As James Vaznis reports in today’s Globe, Boston Public Schools are looking at a $107 million cut, roughly 10% of the budget:
Boston Interim Superintendent John McDonough Wednesday night presented a balanced budget for the next school year that calls for cutting about 120 central office positions and slashing bus rides for seventh- and eighth-graders.
The $973 million spending plan, which requires School Committee approval, would also eliminate nearly 250 teachers, classroom aides, and other school-based positions.
Notice how the places where schools are getting taken over by the state are also places where the budget is getting slashed and huge numbers of teachers are getting laid off because of state aid cuts? That’s not a coincidence. We’ve already seen how this cycle works in other places like New Bedford:
- Hire for-profit companies to implement high-stakes testing schemes
- Slash school budgets, lay off teachers
- Blame remaining teachers for poor test scores
- Divert money from school budgets to for-profit companies to create charter schools
It’s not just children who are being hurt. The cuts would also devastate adult education:
Laura Buckmaster, a student in the adult education program, pleaded with the School Committee to restore money for the program, which is losing all city funding and will have to rely on minimal grant dollars.
“The adult education program is my hope,” said Buckmaster, who shared a personal story about how the program has helped her learn how to read. “It’s a light in the community. … Please find a way to fund the program.”
This is the reality of pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps mythology in the Age of Austerity. Sorry, we had to cut your bootstraps because suburban Democrats won’t raise taxes on their wealthy constituents.