March 04, 2010
L.A. middle school, students struggle under budget cutsCNN | By Ted Rowlands and Chuck Conder
Los Angeles, California (CNN) -- For most of this school year, Sharail Reed has dreaded going to her third-period history class. In a very real sense, the class hasn't had a teacher all year. Instead, a parade of no fewer than 10 substitute teachers has been placed in charge of the class.
The eighth-grader says it's like being stuck in a revolving door.
"I don't really count them anymore," she said. "It makes the whole classroom situation kind of awkward, where the teacher doesn't know your name, and you don't know the teacher's name. Starting fresh."
Starting fresh? Ten times in one semester? And it's not an isolated incident.
Reed attends Markham Middle School in the tough South Central Los Angeles neighborhood of Watts. Last summer, the Los Angeles Unified School District laid off half the school's teaching staff. Districtwide, more than 2,000 teachers were let go as state budget deficits and the recession ate deeply into school budgets across California.
In Los Angeles, as elsewhere, the layoffs started with those teachers with the least experience. That hit Markham Middle School especially hard.