Teachers especially are getting laid off because lack of funding by the national Board of Education. We're spending a LOT of money on the wars -- and education is paying the price.
Schools are funded by each state, and each state gets their funding from the national government. With the debt we are in, between the depression and the money we're pouring into the military, states aren't getting the money for education like they need. So teachers, and the students, suffer.
If you're interested in education in America, I suggest you read the book "Savage Inequalities" by Johnathan Kozol. It explains funding of state schools and how it's based on property tax in the area. So poor areas (with smaller property tax b/c of crappy housing) get less funding, and it's a huge cycle. Good book.
You have to look at everything in the budgets. How much money is coming in and where it is being spent. There are countries that spend less/pupil then we do but have better education.
As far as teachers being laid off, many reasons attribute to this. Many states are closing schools and consolidating in order to save money. This seams terrible until you look at the fact that enrollment is decreasing. Less students means less teachers needed. Then there is the cancelation of non-core classes.
My favorite is the teacher benefit packages which continue to increase or atleast stay even while everyone else must take cuts in pay and benefits. If there is less money to spend on pay and benefits then someone has to go.
Property taxes pay for much of schooling costs.....here logging and mills paid about 30% of the education taxes...now we have no more mills, no more loggers due to enviromentalists (we do have millions of acres of trees however, which burn up every year)....That and the general econmy...states are BROKE, and will be getting broker every year. Not only teachers are getting laid off, but police and firemen, too....human services (ie developmentally and physically disabled) also are taking a big hit.
to clarify, poor areas with lower property tax because of poor housing (ghettos etc), get less funding for their schools because funding is based on property tax. So the schools in the poor areas get less funding. Which is a bad cycle -- poor kids, bad schools, and teacher layoffs where we need it most.
Its not just teachers...its every profession. The economy is bad and billions of people have lost their jobs and are struggling right now.
About 46% on average is locally funded.