The Weak Economy Hits Dallas Teachers

Texas district cuts 375 teachers, and cameras capture the emotional aftermath.

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Higher costs have forced school districts nationwide to raise meal prices and cut field trips. Now teachers are falling victim to the weak economy. Some 375 public school teachers lost their jobs in Dallas last week. District leaders argued that they had no choice but to lay off teachers, along with hundreds of other school employees—more than 1,000 in all—to help stave off a projected $84 million budget shortfall.

The Dallas Morning News has video of elementary school students crying uncontrollably over teachers who were fired. The layoffs, which most people in the district knew were coming, still caught some teachers by surprise. One high school teacher says he was summoned out of class, fired, and then sent back to pack his belongings as his students watched. In addition to initiating layoffs, the district is shifting some 475 teachers among the different schools.

It's not yet clear how the massive reorganization will affect students. For now, the focus is on the teachers; the district has hastily organized a job fair to help its laid-off employees find work. One school district in the greater Las Vegas area has expressed interest; it needs nearly 400 teachers. "Simply stated, hallelujah," the head of the largest teacher association in Dallas told the paper when asked about the prospect of work in Las Vegas.

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