Saturday, October 18, 2008

Priorities

I just read an article on CNN about how The Dallas, Texas, school district laid off 375 teachers to avoid an 84 million dollar deficit in their budget. How sad is that? It described elementary students circling around their loved music teacher who had taught them since kindergarten. They were crying and asking why their teacher had to leave. I am biased because I am a teacher and I have seen firsthand the negative impact of higher class sizes. Where are the priorities of our country? Education should be one of the top priorities because these are the children that are going to lead our country in the future. I keep hearing the candidates talk about competing with other nations. How can we compete when education is not a top priority? It is so sad to me to see the Dallas, Texas, school district lose so many teachers and the saddest thing of all is the students are going to lose. I think this is happening all over the country. I teach in a great school district in the suburbs of CO. We are facing a huge budget shortfall; therefore, they have placed a tax increase on the ballot. If this doesn't pass, hundreds of teachers will lose their jobs. I really don't expect it to pass because of the economy right now. I don't blame people for not wanting to pay more in taxes. How can they be expected to pay more when they are worrying about feeding their families? It just seems like there has to be another way.
My district stated that the specialists, including Literacy coaches and Achievement coaches, will lose their jobs first and then many classroom teachers will lose their jobs. This means increased class sizes. This is going to really hurt kids. This year I have 22 students in my 2nd grade class. Right before school started I was slated to have 29 2nd graders in my class *gulp*. Luckily, our principal handled the school budget so efficiently that she was able to hire another 2nd grade teacher. I can't imagine having another 7 students in my room. I can barely teach the 5 reading groups as it is and do individual reading conferences, focus skills' groups, and collect data on 22 students. My students would not have gotten the best education and it wouldn't be fair to them. I would have tried my best but it would have been difficult. Even the room arrangment would have hard. Trying to move around the room to do activities would have chaotic because there would be another whole pod and a half of students in the room. I know that education can't be the top priority because the U.S. has so many other issues like the economy, healthcare, etc., but I hope the next president realizes what is wrong with our education system and finds a way to help school districts, especially school districts in cities that already don't have the resources other ones do. I also hope No Child Left Behind is reformed. I could write another blog post about that one!

6 comments:

Kelli said...

Amen, Melissa! It's so sad. Schools forced to meet the requirements of NCLB and other mandates yet no funds to do it with. I could go on and on...

hopingforgirl said...

oh wow, my dh just got hired in san antonio in january!!! we *just* moved halfway across the country for this job, yikes!!! hope he doesn't lose his new job!!!

M and H said...

Amen!!!

Susan said...

The reason for the layoffs is due to a math error that caused overspending. Seems weird to me that a huge district like DISD would have several checks and balances in place to prevent a mistake such as that.

I too taught 2nd grade for several years and 22 is definitely the highest manageable number. Texas has a maximum teacher/student ratio of 22:1, but I wonder if they bypassed because of the math error. With such a huge district it is my hope that they shuffled and still kept the 22:1 ratio, but I am not holding my breath on that one.

I agree that the school system needs a MAJOR overhaul. I think it should start by making the districts MUCH smaller, but I doubt that would happen. Here in Texas administration gets paid BIG bucks and the teachers (who do the most important work) get piddly pay for their effort. Getting off my soap box now.

God bless all the great teachers reading this! Your higher reward is in heaven.

Jen said...

that is awful!

Dave and Teresa said...

I'm with you 100% on your views on smaller class sizes, the need for improvements in education, and the problems with NCLB; I sure hope that the next President makes some major revisions or throws some much-needed funding into that program.