In her response to the mayor’s announcement of a first round of economy-induced budget cuts, Randi Weingarten cautioned, “We must not repeat the mistakes of the 1970s when the city cut education so deeply that it took our school system decades to recover.” What happened to the city’s schools in the 1970s?
By the middle of the decade, worsening budget conditions forced the school system to adopt a budget that the Board of Education president warned would be “educationally irresponsible and probably illegal.” Indeed, in the fall of 1975 students returned to schools with huge classes, fewer teachers, and dramatically scaled down sports and activities programs.
Slashing nearly $50 million from a nearly $2 billion budget, the 1975 budget reflected a 2.5 percent cut, the same proportion the mayor is now asking the DOE to cut. And $2 billion in 1975 dollars is about $7.5 billion in today’s dollars — almost exactly what the DOE currently receives from the city.
The whole article is after the jump. Look for more on 1970’s budget cuts to city schools in next week’s Wayback Wednesday.
As for last week’s Wayback Wednesday challenge, commenters who guessed dates in the 1910’s for a report detailing inefficiency and low test score gains in the schools were right: the date was March 11, 1913.