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Thanks to budget cuts, Lansing, Michigan, is laying off all of the art, music and gym teachers in its elementary schools. Let that one sink in.

Oh, Lansing elementary school students won't go without instruction in art, music, and gym. They just won't have teachers who specialize in those subjects. Rather, the remaining teachers will have to figure out how to teach art, music and gym in addition to reading and math and everything else.

Here’s an extra challenge: teachers also gave up their planning time in this round of negotiations. When it comes to lesson planning or grading, some middle school teachers are now down to just a 24-minute lunch break, says Seidl.

Plus, between paying more for health care premiums and salary concessions, Lansing teachers are now making what they did back in 2005.  

So, no, Lansing students won't go without art, music or gym. But to make sure that happens, their teachers will have to add new subjects at the same time they have to take all of their lesson planning and grading home with them. For the money they made eight years ago.

While in theory, teachers are making all the sacrifices here—and that is a long list of major sacrifices—can anyone reasonably argue that Lansing students are going to be getting the same level of education with overworked, underpaid teachers trying to teach subjects they're not trained in that they would get with teachers with planning time, with art and music and gym teachers, with teachers paid enough to be competitive? No, these cuts hurt teachers—the ones being laid off and the ones trying to the work of the ones laid off—and students and communities suffering from mass layoffs. Meanwhile, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder participated in an NBC education summit last week, saying that Michigan needs a "P-20 system: prenatal through life-long learning." Just apparently without teacher planning time or specialized art, music or gym teachers.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Mon Mar 25, 2013 at 09:01 AM PDT.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions.

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