robinellen (robinellen) wrote,

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Middling on education...

So here in CO, we're having something of an education crisis (not my words). Our newly elected governor has decided to make a statement about the value of education, and in an attempt to force the community's hand, he made sweeping cuts to the entire state's education budget. Our district will be cutting millions of dollars for the next three years. Many people are freaking out.

I'm not really one of them. I suppose it helps that I was a teacher, so I know that if worst comes to worst, I can teach my kiddos at home. I don't want to do that, but it's a viable option. Plus, I kind of agree with the governor on this. People have let the government take care of the education system around here for a long time, and it's our turn.

We're lucky too -- they won't be cutting programs (at least, not yet). So our students still have specials (music, art, P.E.). We still have librarians (though our school is most likely losing our beloved librarian, because she's in a temporary position -- long story).

Yes, class sizes will grow...but most people my age had class sizes close to 30 throughout elementary school. (I didn't; but we were on year-round school, and our school was one of the poorer and smaller schools around -- so twelve kids in my class for 5th and 6th grades.) They're cutting paras...which I find sad for the paras, but I have to laugh when I hear teachers complaining. Back in the day (ha) when I taught in the public schools, we didn't get paras. I had to do everything myself -- and so I did. It wasn't a big deal, and I don't think it took any of my time and attention from the students. Instead, it forced me to be more organized and to simplify things.

Our school happens to have a very powerful and successful PTA -- so we have thousands of dollars at our disposal. We can't use it for things like hiring teachers, but we can use it for supplies, programs, technology, etc. I'm not big on technology, I must admit. Sure, it's nice for the school to have laptops (and we have plenty), but the other stuff? Do we really need smart boards and clickers? I don't think so. (It's more likely we need a new math resource, but that's another story.)

I look at our schools and compare them to what I know is happening in other places around the country -- and I still think we're among the lucky ones. Even with budget cuts and unhappy employees (and laid-off employees), our schools are in pretty good shape. And perhaps this will force more people to get involved. Right now, as I know is common at any school, it's the same 10% who do everything. Those of us who volunteer are tapped out. And yeah, it's almost impossible for working parents -- but that's where I think the governor was hoping the community would rise up to meet the need. Employers need to give the working parents time off -- even just two hours a week (travel time + volunteer time) so they can be in the school, helping out somehow.

Ah, in a perfect world ;) How are the schools in your neck of the woods?
Tags: education
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