Making Reading, Writing and Recession Work Together

State budget crises have forced schools to cut back--and students are paying the price

Michael Tnasuttimonkol for TIME

In California, school are cutting back on nurses, librarians and electricity — turning off the lights in many rooms and duct-taping over the switches

With books tucked neatly on the shelves and a comfy purple-dragon rug in a back-corner nook, the library at San Diego's Willard B. Hage Elementary School is the perfect place for children to fall in love with reading. Since the start of the school year, however, the library has been off-limits to students, who get to go there only when (already overworked) teachers can escort them and handle the record-keeping. "With all of the cutbacks we've had in the last few years, the district can't pay for someone to help check out books," explains Pam Wiesenberg, a third-grade teacher at the...

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