Daily Video

October 12, 2011

Recession Limits Choices For Students

In Pennsylvania’s Mifflin County, students got a brand new high school and the community was looking forward to offering them a first-class education in the state-of-the-art building. However, when the economic recession hit, the district was forced to make tough choices that affected students’ competitiveness in college and the workplace.

The superintendent of the county’s schools closed five of its 13 school buildings and laid off many teachers. Those who are still there are overworked, such as the school librarian who has to shelve an entire room’s worth of books by herself.

Certain classes, like AP computer science, have been cancelled due to low enrollment, and students say that’s to their detriment.

“I’m a little angry,” said one student. “I’m really angry actually about it, because, like I said, I mean, I’m going to be way behind all the other students in my college classes.”


“Every reading that I get is that, for the next several years, we are going to have to do either the same with less or more with less, depending on our choice. And the only way that I know of to do more with less is to fundamentally change how you do things.” – James Estep, superintendent, Mifflin County school district

Warm Up Questions

1. Where do public schools get their funding from?

2. What is a recession? Who does it affect?

3. What is a budget? Who makes budgets, and why?

Discussion Questions

1. What do students need to get a good education? What do you feel you need from your school to feel prepared for the future?

2. If you were a superintendent faced with the challenges presented in this video, where would you make cuts first? Why?

3. What programs do you think are most important for a government to fund? Why?

Additional Resources

Video transcript

Schools Re-open to New Economic Reality

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