Teaching Profession

How the Shutdown Is Affecting Teachers

By Liana Loewus — October 08, 2013 1 min read
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Among its other reverberations in the ed world, the government shutdown has made life particularly complicated for U.S. Department of Defense teachers. These educators, who work at schools on military bases around the world, have continued working despite not knowing when they’ll be paid. While nearly all DoD employees have been called back to work under legislation passed last week, it’s still unclear where the teachers—"excepted” employees who never stopped working—stand. Last week, a teacher with the Department of Defense Education Activity told Stars and Stripes, “I think it is important that our community understands that currently, teachers are still teaching their children with no idea when a paycheck will come.”

And while the majority of K-12 teachers have not taken a financial blow, we’re hearing anecdotally that they’re feeling the shutdown in other, more subtle ways.

Jennifer Martin, a high school teacher in Montgomery County, Md., (and sometimes blogger here at Ed Week Teacher), says in this Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee video that her plans to take 100 students to the Vietnam War Memorial were scrapped—giving her kids “a rather ironic lesson in what our country values.”

Rebecca Schmidt, 4th and 5th grade teacher at The Inspired Teaching School in Washington (and another sometimes blogger), was disheartened to have to cancel a field trip to the National Museum of the American Indian. Her students have also been missing out during recess, which is usually held in a now-closed public park. (For the time being, it’s held in an alley or a more-crowded playground). In addition, she explained, some of the websites she uses to plan science lessons are hosted by national parks—and are currently inaccessible.

That said, Schmidt has found a silver lining in the shutdown: Several of her furloughed friends have come in to help out in her classroom.

We’d like to hear from the rest of our teacher audience: What, if any, effects of the government shutdown have you experienced?

A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.