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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Cuts Cut Some Deeper than Others

image: greenposting.org
Oregon public education is in TERRIBLE shape right now. You ask me what affects my vote? This is a HUGE factor.

Our school district has done everything they could to save money for the past four years. Everything, that is, but cut teachers. There have been paper shortages, field trips cut, furlough days taken, etc. The hope was that things would be ironed out economically before the district got to the point where they'd have to cut teaching positions.

image: http://blog.sfgate.com
Well, do I even need to say it?...Things didn't iron out, so it became apparent, at some point this past school year, that the last resort would have to be taken. They would cut everything else possible and then start diving into the forbidden territory of laying teachers off.

This was a huge topic at our house during the past months. As things developed, the Warden and I would discuss the repercussions of different actions that the district could take. One that I felt saddest about went a little something like this.....

image: http://fedupwithlunch.com
Because they would cut the newest teachers and then transfer more tenured teachers to fill those spots, there would be teachers who had taught certain subjects for years, in some cases, their entire careers, who would find themselves teaching material they hadn't seen in years, if ever. The place where this would be more apparent would be in the music programs.

image: ehow.com
You could have, in some cases, a teacher, who had always taught elementary school music, that suddenly finds him/herself teaching high school band--complete with the marching band portion that that position entails. How in the world would that person pull that off? Not to mention that that individual is used to working with little people who, for the most part, tend to be a little easier to deal with, to teenagers, who are sometimes a bit less forgiving. 

In these cases, I'm certain, though, that that teacher is probably just happy to have a job, so he/she does the best he/she can with the situation given.

One of my children came home complaining one day about a situation very similar to what I illustrate here. I quickly took this child aside and explained the logistics of just how some of the jobs in the district had been decided. I told this child to be understanding and forgiving. It stinks for the kids that they find themselves in that situation, but I would bet it's even worse for the poor teachers. The sad thing is, rarely do we look at that side of the coin.

We are in very sorry shape, and though we and our children pay the price. There are so many others behind the scenes that just go about and do the best work they can in very uncomfortable circumstances. In my opinion, they, those who have become pawns in this lousy system, are paying a much higher price than any of the rest of us.


Darilyn said...

All so true. And so sad. I remember when we moved here 12 years ago and specifically choosing our school district. Now it barely resembles what it once did. It makes me so sad for the teachers and the students.

Tonya said...

It's a shame. I was so impressed with most of Rylie's teachers at Aloha's back to school night. I know she's in good, capable hands. There was one however that I could tell was not comfortable in her position and it made me sad for her and the kids. Hopefully she can grow from this experience and hopefully the kids will be nice to her. I told Rylie pretty much exactly what you said here and told her to give this teacher some slack and show her extra kindness. Such a tough, tough situation. I hope Beaverton can pull it together sooner than later:(

Adriane D said...

I am so glad for parents like you and others who understand the situation and make an effort to be understanding and teach their children to have patience. I always thought, as a teacher, that even if my children don't get the kind of teacher I may prefer them to have, they will learn something valuable from the experience either way. I just hope it turns around soon for everyone's sake.

Julie said...

Beautifully expressed by one of the most AMAZING teacher's I've ever seen. Thank you for teaching my son, Adriane! I feel like we got the king's portion that year.

lia london, author and writing coach said...

You're right that the teachers are the pawns... and yet the most vital part of the system. Even before they are cut themselves, the fact that they have to teach with such limited resources is very challenging. Not enough books, not enough special ed. helpers, not enough supplies for "labs" of any kind. I remember trying to teach English in the choir room... no desks at which to write... no shelves for the text books (class room set only)... Crazy.

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