Sent to the Desert Sun (Palm Springs, CA)
Boards of Education need to protect districts
The proposed budget cuts in Desert Sands Unified are typical of what is going on nationwide, and are a tragedy that need not happen ("Faced with $14.8 million shortfall, Desert Sands board to weigh layoffs in tonight's meeting," March 2).
In order to save $14.2 million, Desert Sands is considering eliminating crucial and important positions, while the state continues to spend education dollars on expenditures that harm students.
For example: The plans include eliminating three teacher-librarian positions in Desert Sands high schools, while research shows that the presence of credentialed school librarians is related to increased reading scores.
At the same time, California has a high school exit exam that costs the state about $600 million per year. Studies of high school exit exams show that they are useless: They do not lead to higher employment, higher earnings, or improved academic achievement. In fact, researchers have yet to discover any benefits of having a high school exit exam.
We are spending money on measuring the problem, not solving it.
Boards of education need to protect their districts from needless budget cuts and not simply pass the suffering along.
Professor Emeritus, USC
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