Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Were you a pink slipped teacher?

Teachers across the country are getting pink slips. Some will have them revoked, others will need to find another school district. Some districts are closing schools at a record pace. There are many factors in this, but the common ones are budget and declining enrollment.

The declining enrollment can be attributed to parents homeschooling or moving to less crowded states. Also, illegal aliens may be returning to their home country, taking the kids with them.

Of course the biggest is budget. It should be no surprise to anyone. Especially states like California. For at least 35 years, this state has added program after program. And had to increase spending. But enrollment was not keeping up. The budgets of schools should have remained steady, except for inflation and any increase in enrollment. But the powers that be decided otherwise. They decided we need to come up with unique programs to add to the school day and educational experience. So we get what we have today. I system that is bloated with pet programs and top heavy positions requiring fat salaries.

Yes, the top is bloated. We have superintendents for everything. We have assistant supers to those. They all get secretaries. They all get car allowances. Full benefits, and well over 6 figure salaries. Why? We don't need all these superintendents. Schools can function quite well without them. In fact, get a lousy one and you add to the misery.

We think we have to attract these people with cars, money, etc. Why? Our educational achievements here in California are lousy. We rank near the bottom for that, but near the top for salaries. Why?

Teachers have no gripes either. They have frittered away responsibilities to literacy coaches, tutors, mentors, resource teachers, and any pet project you can think of. We keep adding programs. Oh sure, they're nice programs. But we can't keep adding to the fat. We can't keep adding projects and programs without thinking of the consequences. Sooner or later, we will run out of money. And we have.

Some districts have so many employees, each kid could almost get one on one instruction. Schools don't create revenue. It's gotten from you and me. So when someone adds a program or gets a raise, it comes from someone elses pocket. But soon there are no more pockets to pick from. This ponzi shceme had to end. And it's ending badly.

But not really. We scream about cuts as if they really are cuts. They are not. They are a returning to a logical level of spending. Public school was never intended to be a place where we have day care, feed breakfast and lunch, and take care of every special request and need of every student. Can't be done. Should not be done.

Money never has been a problem. Look at our public schools 150 years ago. These schools were just instruction. Period. And we ushered in the greatest industrial revolution ever. The first half of the last century was no different. We sent a man to the moon and invented personal computers. But look at what has happened since. A complete change to nonsense. Public schools became places for political experiments.

And now we can't pay. Go figure.

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