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Facing deficits, some states cut summer school


Nearly every school system in Florida has eviscerated or eliminated summer school this year, and officials are reporting sweeping cuts in states from North Carolina and Delaware to California and Washington, reports the New York Times. The cuts have come as states across the country are struggling to approve budgets, and California’s governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, declared a fiscal state of emergency on July 1. "We’re seeing a disturbing trend of districts making huge cuts to summer school; they’re just devastating these programs," said Ron Fairchild, executive director of the National Center for Summer Learning at Johns Hopkins University. "It’s having a disproportionate impact on low-income families." The federal stimulus law is channeling $100 billion to public education, and Education Secretary Arne Duncan has repeatedly urged states and districts to spend part of the money to keep schools open this summer. But thousands of districts have ignored Duncan’s urgings. In Florida and California, for example, government revenues have fallen so precipitously that, even after receiving federal stimulus dollars, local officials have been forced to make deep cuts to school budgets. Officials in many other states, considering summer school a frill, despite research showing it can narrow the achievement gap between poor and affluent children, have spent their stimulus money elsewhere…

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