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Friday, September 22, 2023

Staff Editorial

High schoolers storm out over teacher layoffs

Teachers are losing jobs as school district budgets are cut, and students aren’t happy about it.

The cuts — which amount to billions of dollars in reductions to education at every level — have just now started to cause layoffs, and some Katy high school students decided enough is enough.

According to the Houston Chronicle, hundreds of students walked out of Morton Ranch and Cinco Ranch high schools on Friday and held signs saying “Save Our Teachers” and “Honk For Teachers.” Other schools around the Katy area reported student protests as well.

While skipping class may not be a suitable long-term form of opposition, it certainly helps make a point. Over 350 teachers in Katy ISD alone were laid off last week, and there are layoffs planned at numerous other Houston-area school districts.

The message is clear — these cuts aren’t bearable. Public school districts are looking at $7.8 billion in reductions, and the consequences will be felt across the state.

Although students, teachers and administrators are speaking up as loudly as possible, Gov. Rick Perry seems to think that everything is going to be fine.

“There are better ways to send your message than walking out of the classroom,” Perry said Thursday to the Houston Chronicle.

“The fact of the matter is, I feel quite confident that the Texas Legislature will fund our schools appropriately. At the end of the day, being in the classroom is a lot more important to them than protesting, particularly during school hours. If they want to come here on Saturdays and Sundays or after school, have at it.”

Katy ISD officials see it differently. The district says the cuts are staggering, and it is already having a profound effect in numerous programs.

“There are some very real reasons for why this is happening,” Katy ISD spokesman Steve Stanford said. “It is a direct impact of what is happening in Austin.”

UH students should follow the path that Katy students are already traveling — the University needs to voice its opinion so loud that no one, including the Texas Legislature, can ignore it.

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