Lately, California has been experiencing budget cuts to its public schools, universities, and community colleges. The K-12 school year may even be minimized by several days due to these cuts.
According to the Legislative Analyst’s Office, the state will accumulate billions of dollars less than planned this year. The debate over whether or not midyear cuts will be implemented should be resolved in December and will determine the decrease in school days, if any.
“The whole statement to me is a joke,” said Superintendent Jim Negri about the possibility of a reduced school year. “I don’t see us having any midyear cuts this year. We have planned very efficiently for this school year so we don’t have to make midyear cuts. It’s no good to speculate what may happen.”
Still, Negri says that the duration of the school year has the ability to go from 180 to 175 days, but questions why this should happen when student achievement would be diminished.
John Green, a teacher and president of the Castro Valley Teachers Association, explained that the legislature’s answer to our poor economic situation has been cutting education funding, ignoring instructional value granted to students. He described other disadvantages of the budget cuts facing education: not only are the cuts eliminating learning opportunities for students, but are also robbing them of their motivation to do their best.
“Personally, I think the era of accepting budget cuts and concessions is behind us,” said Green. “The recession has fallen primarily on the shoulders of the 99 percent in the form of unemployment, foreclosures, tuition hikes and furlough days. People are sick of it. Heck, even Miley Cyrus released a music video supporting the Occupy movement! I think state lawmakers are going to encounter significantly more resistance to cuts this time around.”
While both Green and Negri agree that a possible shortened school year would have a negative impact regarding students’ learning experiences, students themselves presented different views when asked about their position on the matter.
“It would be beneficial if the school year was shortened because we would have a longer summer, and therefore, a longer time to rest,” said sophomore Jonathan Wong.
Sophomore Alexa Ludke also shared her thoughts about a shortened school year: “It wouldn’t be a bad thing as long as none of the teaching that would take place in those days was lost.”