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By J. Smith

Thousands of teachers in California now find themselves jobless after layoff notices were issued to 19,000 throughout the school district. After the uncertainty of the state budget and a strong side-eye from many in the financially disgruntled public, the benefits teachers and other public workers receive has led to uncertainty in the future of American education.

Early estimates of the job devastation includes almost 500 school employees in San Francisco, 540 in Oakland, nearly 900 in San Diego, and about 5,000 educators in Los Angeles, the Huffington Post reports. The union expects to have a final count on Friday.

California is only one of the firsts in a sweeping and inevitable chain of laid off teachers. Schools nationwide have until May 15 to issue final layoff notices. The state’s governor, Jerry Brown, has a budget proposal for closing the nearly $27 billion budget deficit, which includes a plan seeking to maintain current K-12 spending levels by asking voters to extend temporary increases in the sales, personal income and vehicle taxes for five years.

However there is not enough Republican support for the plan to hold a special tax election. Without those tax extensions, school districts would face another round of deep budget cuts that education officials warn would prompt widespread layoffs and campus closures, the Post reports.

If the quality of education in this country slips any further than it already has, I predict that we can collectively throw in the towel when it comes to remaining a leading super power in the not-so-distant future.

Read more: Union Estimates 19,000 Teacher Layoff Slips So Far In California

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