Linda Phillips is a teacher at Ragsdale High School in Jamestown, North Carolina. She teaches a special support course called Academic Edge that helps ninth graders who read and write below grade level catch up to their peers. Without funding like the American Jobs Act could provide, Phillips’s class may be discontinued and leave these students to fall further and further behind.
Phillips said that her school relies on state funding as well as private grants to support special classes and programs like Academic Edge. State funding has dried up, and if the grant that funds her class isn’t renewed, it will likely be cancelled. Ending the class will set students up for failure, Phillips said. Without this extra help, these students will be poorly equipped to succeed as they continue high school.
Ending programs like Phillips’s class also means cutting the teaching jobs that go with them, leaving teachers out of a job. In fact, nearly 300,000 educator jobs have been lost since 2008 due to state and local budget cuts. Phillips introduced President Obama at an event today in Jamestown where he explained how the American Jobs Act will help put teachers back to work. His plan includes funding to support nearly 400,000 education jobs—enough for states to avoid more harmful layoffs and rehire tens of thousands of teachers who lost their jobs over the past three years. These teachers are sorely needed to give students the time and attention they need to be successful.
Phillips said that continuing the Academic Edge program “would be the best thing in the world” for the students who benefit from it. She said that if the program loses its funding, Ragsdale might be able to continue it using other money from another source, but that would leave less funding for something else. The American Jobs Act can help eliminate the need for these types of cuts that have devastating consequences for our students’ futures.
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