NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Education budget cuts are significantly affecting Texas students – negatively.
A survey of more than 240 Texas school superintendents revealed that state budget cuts have significantly impacted classroom instruction, teacher morale and cuts in services.
The survey, conducted by the Texas chapter of the American Federation of Teachers, found that the state public education budget cuts of $5.4 billion are not only stressing administrators but students, too.
“We’re really seeing it manifested by having larger classes, especially at the high school level,” said Texas AFT President Linda Bridges. “There you have more kids in a classroom [and it’s] harder to do one-on-one instruction because of that.”
Bridges said superintendents also expressed concern about low teacher morale.
As a part of the survey, one superintendent wrote, “Most staff are thankful to have a job, and I feel they will stay in place for the next three years. After that, the accountability system will drive them out.”
The lack of funds also has educators worried about the new State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STARR) exam, which will replace the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) test in the Spring.
“All of these cuts are creating a really stressful environment within the schools and really creating concerns about how students will fair on the standardized tests that will be given this year,” Bridges said.
In addition the regular ‘reading, writing and arithmetic’ Bridges said some of the superintendent concerns centered on, “Things like technology taking a big hit –- as we’re trying to get kids ready to continue in the 21st Century. Funding for that has been diminished.”
In November of 2011 the Texas AFT conducted a survey of school employees. To make sure they have a clear picture Bridges said the group is planning another survey later in the school year, when districts are putting their 2012-2013 budgets together.