Teachers fear US spending cuts backlash

Educators express concern that country's debt crisis could affect public education.

    Several hundred teachers from across the US have rallied near the White House to call for radical changes to what they see as a flawed US educational system.

    The gathering on Saturday came as US congressional leaders met to discuss ways to avert a potentially damaging debt default.

    Since the recession, spending on education has suffered as state and local governments cut costs to compensate for reduced revenue and balance their budgets.

    "It has affected education for years and years, having our allocations cut for years, decades already, and if you think about running your own household, like that, there's only so much cutting you can do," said Monica Severa, a teacher.

    Teachers are being especially hit hard in their pocketbooks, and with congress threatening major spending cuts in any debt ceiling plan, educators fear it will only get worse.

    Some teachers are demanding that the government get rid of tax breaks for big companies and devote more funding to public education.

    But even if a default is avoided, there is the danger that one of the credit agencies will downgrade the US debt.

    That will mean that state and local governments will have to pay higher interest rates to borrow money to fund their school systems. Higher interest rates could mean further cutbacks.

    Al Jazeera's Roger Wilkison reports from Washington.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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