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!