Lamenting Leftism

Econ 101: 300 Jobs Cut As Government School Enrollment Plummets

homeschooling > government schooling

The purple-haired incel Twitter trolls who demand free college, health care, and a $50,000 starting salary when they graduate college with a Queer Geography degree love to berate small companies for cutting jobs or closing their doors entirely when government forces them to artificially raise wages.

They copy and paste the entitlement mantra all over social media: “If a company can’t afford to pay a living wage, it doesn’t deserve to stay in business!”

It’s an ironic position, believing that it is better to fire people than to pay them “what they’re worth.” For bleeding hearts who believe “greed” regulates wages, low-quality workers bear the brunt of basic supply-and-demand economics. They are first to get fired.

That irony just slapped Albuquerque Public Schools in the face.

Less than a month after the state legislature increased teacher pay by $10,000, the largest school system in the state has announced that 300 people would be laid off due to a “dramatic decline in enrollment at APS during the current school year.” According to The Albuquerque Journal, that’s in addition to 200 positions that are currently vacant.

“The district’s enrollment dropped by about 5,500 students in the 2021–22 school year,” the Journal reported. 

Reports in early February anticipated a $25 million budget shortfall. Superintendent Scott Elder announced this week that figure is closer to $17 million.

APS staff should consider themselves lucky to face only a 5% budget cut despite a 7% enrollment drop. Such are the luxuries of government jobs. But such is the reality of basic economics.

When demand falls, producers are forced to cut supply. Demand in this case is government education. Supply is teachers (and administrators). But the greatest irony is that Democrats pitched the recent increase in teacher pay as a way to attract the quality teachers needed to deliver New Mexico from its last place spot in national education rankings. 

Don’t count on it.

It’s already a slap in the face to taxpayers to be forced to hand out massive pay raises to existing teachers without a merit-based evaluation system — it’s like paying 50% more for the same gas; only it’s 20% more for the same sub-par results that have contributed to our current last-place education ranking.

But it’s worse to see the pipe dream of “higher teacher pay” attracting “better teachers” crumble before their eyes as APS is forced to cut positions due to plummeting enrollment.

That is Economics 101. 

As the cost of government educators rises and demand for government education falls, budget cuts are eliminating the number of “educators” needed. 

The net effect is the same in government as in the private industry. When wages are artificially hiked without an equal rise in demand — gauged by quality — people lose their jobs.

You can bet that the same liberals who lambasted small businesses for going under due to government-mandated minimum wage increases are screaming at the sky over the government having to cut positions for the same reason.

How sad.

After two years of Zoom meetings where problem-children are given disproportionate attention while smarter, more well-behaved students are ignored and fed worksheets that take mere minutes to finish, parents have decided that the trade-off doesn’t actually benefit their kids.

It’s the decision we made when we pulled our kids from government education and decided to homeschool, in part because we refused to mask our children as a condition of attending in-person schooling, and in part because the smarter the kid the less attention they received from teachers.

Apparently we weren’t the only ones. 

Thank God for personal choice. And thank God for parents who took their own children’s education into their own hands.

It’s unfortunate for the 300 people who are about to lose their jobs because of a decrease in demand for the sub-par product they’re selling. But the net gain is that parents are doing for their children what they believe is best. 

We say it often here at The Conservative New Mexican — more freedom is never the wrong answer . It would benefit the state education bureaucracy to realize that some of us care more about the educational outcomes of our own children than we care about the jobs the state provides to ineffective teachers providing sub-par outcomes with disproportionate attention to lower-performing students than to higher-capability students.

We, merely two among the parents of the other 5,499 who decided the same thing, are thankful for the opportunity to take our children’s education in our own hands.

That is the free market at work.

It should not come as a shock to government bureaucrats that parents have realized that farming our their children to a government institution that ranks last in the nation is not the best choice for their children.

The solution isn’t just budget cuts and terminations. It’s a merit-based evaluation system that requires teachers to prove how effective they are in their jobs — just like in the private sector.

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