Education Letter to the Editor

Think Outside the Box in Hard Budget Times

September 05, 2008 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

To the Editor:

Two front-page stories in your Aug. 27, 2008, issue highlight the budget shortfalls schools are facing and discuss ways districts are trying to meet them (“Hard Times Hit Schools”; “Districts Cut Back Busing, Seek Ways to Save Energy”). And although a number of people quoted in the articles acknowledge that hard times are cyclical, not one offers a solution that gets to the root of the problem. No one is looking outside the box, but instead just recommending the same old, same old ways of temporarily dealing with a system that is essentially moribund.

What a great opportunity this crisis du jour presents for rebooting learning once and for all. This is the time to get really serious about using technology to plug budgetary holes. Why eliminate Spanish when children can learn it online? Why forgo Advanced Placement courses when Apex Learning Inc., an online-curriculum company, offers more than a dozen? Why make children go to a school building when a great deal of learning can be done at home or in a community center, on a computer? Why invest in expensive textbooks that are obsolete as soon as they are published, when their information can be transmitted better, cheaper, and up-to-date in real time over the Internet?

Take California as a case in point. With a $16 billion budget deficit, it recently mandated that all 8th graders take Algebra 1 by 2011. Jack O’Connell, the state superintendent of public instruction, has put a $3 billion price tag on the enterprise. In the heated debate about the measure, has anyone suggested that California use Carnegie Learning products, which are deliverable online and quite successful at teaching algebra?

We have a golden opportunity now that circumstances are forcing the establishment to do something. Let’s hope it will be the right thing, and not the old thing.

Gisèle Huff

San Francisco, Calif.

A version of this article appeared in the September 10, 2008 edition of Education Week as Think Outside the Box in Hard Budget Times


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Mathematics Webinar
Addressing Unfinished Learning in Math: Providing Tutoring at Scale
Most states as well as the federal government have landed on tutoring as a key strategy to address unfinished learning from the pandemic. Take math, for example. Studies have found that students lost more ground
Content provided by Yup Math Tutoring
Classroom Technology Webinar Building Better Blended Learning in K-12 Schools
The pandemic and the increasing use of technology in K-12 education it prompted has added renewed energy to the blended learning movement as most students are now learning in school buildings (and will likely continue

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated: November 17, 2021
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Nearly a Million Kids Vaccinated in Week 1, White House Says
Experts say there are signs that it will be difficult to sustain the initial momentum.
4 min read
Leo Hahn, 11, gets the first shot of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2021, at the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle. Last week, U.S. health officials gave the final signoff to Pfizer's kid-size COVID-19 shot, a milestone that opened a major expansion of the nation's vaccination campaign to children as young as 5. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Education How Schools Are Getting Kids the COVID Shot, and Why Some Aren’t
Some district leaders say offering vaccine clinics, with the involvement of trusted school staff, is key to helping overcome hesitancy.
5 min read
A girl walks outside of a mobile vaccine unit after getting the first dose of her COVID-19 vaccine, outside P.S. 277, Friday, Nov. 5, 2021, in the Bronx borough of New York. (AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez)
Education Biden Administration Urges Schools to Provide COVID-19 Shots, Information for Kids
The Biden administration is encouraging local school districts to host vaccine clinics for kids and information on benefits of the shots.
2 min read
President Joe Biden, and first lady Jill Biden walk to board Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021. Biden is spending the weekend at his home in Rehoboth Beach, Del. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)