Thursday, July 9, 2009

A Rant in the Making

Yes, I am being a total topic thief today. Thursday's inspiration goes out to two stupendous bloggers, Ms. Sandy and Ms. Savant. In fear of being known as a plagiaristic prat, I shall use a title of my own creation. Thanks, girls.

With our nations economy still rapidly plummeting in a downward direction, eyes turn towards means of finding a solution. More taxes, less taxes, tax breaks, budget cuts, yada and yada, but to no avail. Each solution found seems to predict even more dire consequences to our ever floundering economy. Focus: higher education, better jobs, provide stimulus to stimulate the unstimulateable...YES! That's the solution! Let's do it.

"Yes, boss. Let's!"

"What's the first step?"

"Cut Education."

Why is education, you know, the stepping stone of making the nation a better place, the cornerstone of society, the paved road to riches the first program the eagle eye focus on for measuring and cutting?

Tell me if this makes any sense to you.

I happen to live in a state that ranks 49th in the education system. Yes, that's right, 49th. Many reasons are given: large classes, high student to teacher ratio, lack of classroom supplies, no funding (hey, ever heard of a school board going bankrupt? did), under qualified teachers...and the list goes on and on.

Well, let's fix it.

Yes, let's cut funding to higher learning institutions. We'll reduce funding by 3 million to this campus, 7 million to this one, and a couple of million more to this one.

Cut cut cut...Snip snip snip.

Why is education always the first to hit the cutting board?

And that is just higher level learnin. Or is it?

With budget cuts in the works for the 2009-2010 school year, many teachers have already been laid off, forced to move to different locations, and job positions have been removed. With classroom sizes of 30+ to one teacher, the classrooms are in danger of becoming insufficient day cares instead of places of learning. How can you see to the needs of the few when you have throngs of the many huddled together in one room?

How do they fix it?

Cut more.

Offer less.

Take away programs.

Oh, not the ones that are the staples of school environment, but take away art. Drama. Music.

We don't need no kids exposed to them there things. It don't get them an education anyhow, now don't it.


Cut cut

Snip Snip.


  1. Alex, thanks for the shout out, don't know that I deserve it but here's my own tiny opinion about school budgets and the cutting done on them.....IT'S NOT THE TEACHERS! Yeah, sure, good and bad in all professions.....but IT'S THE ADMINISTRATORS! I live in a state of 1 million that has 36 school systems! Not a typo....36 school systems in 39 cities & towns. Make any sense to you??? We don't have too many teachers & programs, we have TOO MANY Administrators. (getting down off my/your soapbox)....thanks, that felt good.

  2. Oh boy!

    I taught for years. I have multiple degrees, all in education. I have taught early intervention through university (but never jr. high. shudder). I love teaching. I love learning.

    I quit completely over a year ago and I can't see a day in the future when I'll ever go back.

    Certainly the cuts that you mention get my blood to boiling.

    What pisses me off even more, though, is teaching to the test. I imagine that's state to state, but in my state it is completely out of hand. When student teachers write their lesson plans, they have to indicate in their objectives what testable standards have been addressed in their lesson. How will this lesson ensure that these students will do better on their standardized tests?

    Teaching used to be creative! You used to be able to tailor what you taught to the students you were teaching. Now it's all on a timetable and if you don't get it, tough shit - we're moving on. I had a teacher actually say that to me (without saying shit - I think she shrugged) when my daughter was having some troubles keeping up in math.

    So I taught in preschools and universities. Seemed like this all hadn't hit there, yet. But now it has. When I quit teaching at the university, I had to put all of my assignments online and my students had to turn all their work in online. Then it all went to the state. The state was watching them and it was watching me. Was I grading hard enough? Was I grading too hard? All of my tests had to be multiple choice, because that was the way their proficiency tests would be presented. Ridiculous.

    Y'know, it's not like I had anything to hide - that's not it. I knew I was doing a good job. But the sheer amount of extra work I had to do so that someone in a state position (who had more than likely never been in a classroom of their own)could judge me?

    No thank you.

    In my state, to sub, all you need is a BS. In anything. Needn't even be remotely related to education. This offended me so much, initially. If a nurse (with a similar degree to mine)needed the day off, could I sub for her? Hell no!) But now I see that everything is so planned out it doesn't really matter. As long as you can control the classroom, you're in.

    I'll stop, but, grrrrrrrr.....

  3. OH WOW!! I can't rant right there along with you! :)

  4. I certainly don't have the answers to all our problems, but I have to say we have a great public school system where I live and budget cuts or not, its because of the overwelming support of the community. We have volunteers who step in and give free art, drama and music classes beyond what the school financially supports. If a parent can do pottery, then come in and teach a pottery class. If a grandparent has a quilting skill then come in and share it with the kids and so on. These things sometimes take place during 'free time' or after school and its all volunteers. We've got more than a dozen type special skill classes offered and more each year. The kids (K-8th) love it and its rewarding for the volunteers too. With so much being taken away from the kids, it's truly heartwarming to see so many people step up and offer their time and skills to inspire kids to learn something new and different that the school could never offer otherwise.

  5. Sandy, it was your response to Savant's post this morning that gave me my topic =) And I agree with you. Our state's (parish) idea of school support is giving the board members a raise. Not to mention not even HALF of the school board members even have a degree in tell me...if you're going to make changes in education...shouldn't you at least be educated at least a little in THAT field? (baffled)

    Tammy, I teach 5th grade and have for ten years. I was a numbskull (read dumbass) that decided to play in highschool (I barely graduated), play in life, and started college in my mid to late twenties. One of the things I struggle with the most is the control the state has in the classroom. Do you know that we are now being dictated which activities we have to put in our lesson plans...this...along with our own lesson plans and the state's GLE's (grade level expectations) There are times when I get so frustrated I'd leave and never come back (I need the retirement and health insurance). Ten more years and I'll be in the boat you're sailing in for sure. We can have Mojitos.

    MsMoonlight: I love your school! It sounds blissful. I imagine that your test scores are excellent and not because of ramming state information down their throats. With the pressure's from state testing and no child left behind (but there are children being left Tammy's comment...if they don't get it, tough, no time to linger...they're wastin daylight) the arts get left behind. Kudos to the parents and grandparents living in your school district. I think that's an amazing program. Of course, it takes BOTH the community and the schools to work together...Don't even get me started on the parent effort soap box!

  6. Arg! Ms. Howard said it well. My boys happen to be in an excellent, well funded school district and have everything. The district next to ours? Not even half of what this one has. How does this kind of off-balance-some-have-all-most-have-little-a-few-have-none stuff happen?

  7. here, here--my husband and daughter are both in education.

    I'm not a hidden railroad junkie, but I live in a culture that has been very dependant on rail service. So there is a lot of rail stuff to photograph.

  8. My MIL is a 5th grade teacher and she constantly complains about having to teach to the test. And you're not supposed to, but if you don't and your kids fail? YOU get axed. : ( And a lot of her kids don't even speak english, so that's a tough one too.

  9. The same is happening in here as well, schools always seem to be the first ones to suffer... Sad.

  10. Ah Alex, the cuts in education blow me away......I want to scream!!! All my kids attended our Catholic school PreK-8(nick is entering 6th grade) and while we choose this for many reasons, our states fanatic idea of testing was one. Certainly the girls have had to deal with it now that they are in public HS(couldn't swing the tuition for Catholic HS). Their electives have been cut to almost nothing, so many HS students dual enroll just to find classes with some substance to keep them busy. Florida public schools are awful, and yet our district is one of the best in the state, judged mostly by that stupid state test....ugh.