While employers in the private sector added jobs last month, the public sector contracted again (down 34,000; 24,000 in public education), as it has for many months running.
Focusing on the public education part of this, my CBPP colleague Michael Leachman notes here:
In the last three years, schools have cut 278,000 jobs, with over 40 percent of the job cuts occurring in the last year.
Here are two relevant pictures. The first shows the loss of jobs in local public education and the second shows public school enrollment, including projections based on population demogrpahics. As you no doubt will observe, demand (enrollment) is going up while the number of educators is declining.
Source: National Center of Education Statistics, Table 68 \2\: projected.
That means higher student/teacher ratios and a harder time meeting students’ needs.
We can do something about this. The President’s Jobs Act devotes $35 billion to preventing teacher (and other public sector workers’) layoffs. The White House estimates the plan will prevent up to 280,000 teacher layoffs. (And while we’re talking about schools and jobs, let’s not forget FAST!, a version of which is also in the jobs bill…)
Or we can just jawbone and grandstand the importance of education while these two trends crash into each other.