The DeHavilland Blog

Thursday, October 09, 2008

What in the world...

Alright, I thought we were in for a downturn, but this is getting ridiculous.

The Dow is down almost 40% from its high just one year ago. Housing hasn't found its bottom, which means the 16% of homeowners that are upside-down (owing more than their houses are worth) will soon be joined by others; and states are taking drastic actions, including slashing budgets (Nevada just cut its budget by 14%!) and firing thousands of employees.

I knew that K12 funding couldn't keep going up at the rate we have been, but I was honestly expecting a flattening followed by a slow decline (due to pressures from Medicare and Social Security). But with the severe chaos in the market - turmoil that will literally take years to work through the system - what happens to K12 spending rates?

Just as importantly, how will schools and districts respond? Some states have already seen cuts and spending freezes, while others have put off addressing the issue by tapping into rainy day funds (now depleted). What next?

And not to pile on, but we should also remember that this is happening at a time when schools are expected to post dramatic gains in student proficiency. In the early years of NCLB, schools set very low improvement goals, with dramatic increases all set for the last few years (by which, surely, the law would have been changed). Well, here we are, seeing greater percentages of schools failing according to those what happens now? Do we reconstitute huge numbers of schools just as budgets are being shattered?

I don't have any answers - but I feel for those, educators and students alike, who are caught in this maelstrom.


  • This will be a time of extremely strong leadership for each public school system. Sadly, this is sorely lacking in the vast majority of districts. So the public will hear the cries for more funding, more funding when there is none to be had. Maybe this time, there will be real change at the administrative level in the school systems as they look to save money by slashing administrative staff and top-grading to keep only the "a' and "b" players. This could be a good thing.

    Also, taking this a step further, this could be an opportunity to clean house in the schools, too. There would be (are already) many highly qualified subject oriented people who have lost jobs that would make excellent teachers via the alternate certificate programs that are available.

    Maybe this could be the start of the long over-due revolutionary reform of public schools...just a thought but I like the possibilities...

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