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More on the school difficulties in Oregon and California

Sam Dillon reports in this morning’s New York Times on the school cutbacks as a result of state financial difficulties in Oregon and, soon, California.

Educational historians said this would be the first time in 70 years that many districts are closing schools far ahead of schedule. In the Depression, millions of workers lost work, government revenues crashed and thousands of districts shut early, the historians said.

“I find it remarkable to see this happening now, because although economic times are hard, this is nothing like the Great Depression,” said Jeffrey E. Mirel, a historian and an associate dean of the University of Michigan School of Education. “To see large numbers of districts cutting weeks off the school year in times of mild but not severe recession is just unprecedented.”

The expense gap Oregon is struggling to close to keep schools healthy is about $500 million. This works out to about $900/student — or slightly more than 10% of annual per student spending. And how much are we about to spend on Iraq?

This morning’s Oregonian reports on the vanishing of the Oregon dream.

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