Monday, August 2, 2010

View on Educational Funding Cuts

Okay, so I am risking a little by writing this post, and want to place a few disclaimers:
1. I by no means, am intentionally making this a political post (I know very little about politics, and would not choose to go in that direction).
2. I am also not saying that every educator feels this way, or that I am right...
3. This post risks the potential to be a little all over the place, as I have tried to organize it in my head, it hasn't really been willing to follow any organizational format!
So without further ado, here are my thoughts:
As, an educator the continual cuts in education are very frustrating. By March, of each year, my teammates and I begin to get nervous about the number of teachers that will be excessed (meaning, forced to move schools) or like this year, when they let three of our teachers go all together. We never truly feel safe! Additionally, the more teachers that are let go, the higher the student to teacher ratio gets. *And this is probably where I am the most passionate. For example, when we left in June, I had 27 students on my class roster. That's 27 10-11 year olds! I am responsible for knowing and understanding specifically the needs of those 27 students; how well they read, how well they can do their math, being able to maintain a safe and healthy (emotionally and physically) environment, and so much more for all 27 of those students. Now, don't get me wrong, I enjoy these challenges, that's why I teach. However, if you ask me about the reality of me missing something, the potential is pretty high. There is just no way, that I, one person, can focus that intently on 27 students. I would love to cap at 20 students...that just seems so much more doable. As you think about this, please realize that I am not saying these things because its "too much" for me, or that I doubt my abilities to do what I am hired and trained to do. This is about the kids in my room...its better for them if there are less students...they get more of me, if there are less kids in that room. I realize that class size has always been an issue, and that at some point in my education I probably had just as many if not more in my class. I guess I am just wishfully hoping. So, job security and class size are definite issues with me.
Next, I have an issue with the amount of money that we get to spend in our classrooms. Last year, I was given $275 to supply my classroom (which is ample, I'd be good with anything over $100), but this year I got $0. In previous years, I would buy my students binders, markers, color pencils, notebooks, etc. This year, I have none of that stuff on hand, and do not have the funds to help my students that can't afford the supplies. We try to be really mindful that some students can't afford our supplies, and keep the supply lists simple, but sometimes that isn't enough, and I like to have enough supplies in my room that we can make it work. I simply can't stockpile supplies when I don't have the funds to do so.
So, "America" wants the economy to improve...How in the world will our students of today be able to help our economy to get better, when they can't do simple multiplication and division (because they sat quietly on the second row in fifth grade)? I guess this is my biggest fear. Students that will fall through the cracks, because they are well behaved, or at least quiet. If we have less students, it will be easier to catch these students and help them the way they need to be helped. America can't risk our future, by continuing to discount the education of those that will be in charge in the future. If we don't properly educate our students, then our future, doesn't really hold any real hope for improvement.
Then, I didn't even touch the accountability system in place. Don't misunderstand me, I appreciate the accountability...I think most teachers need it (including me for the motivation), but I don't necessarily think it is the most valuable or reliable. Just saying...
At the risk of looking a little foolish, these are just my thoughts. You don't have to agree, and you can even say, "What is she thinking?" I just needed to get it out there, and off my DONE!

1 comment:

Jennifer Wichers said...

AMEN!!! I could not have said it better myself Bailey. I teach in Louisiana, and feel exactly the same way. It blows my mind that teachers are getting cut, funding is getting cut...yet every child desrves a chance to have an excellent education. We are all qualified teachers who are passionate about what we do. We do it through all the circumstances, because our heart is in it for the kids!