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The Coming Tsunami in Education February 27, 2010

Posted by alwaysjan in Teaching.
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Arnold flexes his atrophied financial muscles.

When there’s a devastating earthquake in Haiti, and now Chile, Californians take notice.  We, too, live on the Ring of Fire.  I, for one, have already checked to make sure the flashlight next to the bed still works.  But the disaster that’s really been on my mind lately is a man-made disaster. I’m talking about the California Budget Crisis and the resulting tsunami headed toward a school near you.

For the record, California educates approximately 30 percent of the students in the nation, and has the most diverse aka challenging student population to boot.  Yet the state ranks 47th in its funding per pupil.  There are Third World countries that spend more per pupil than California does. The state’s budget for prisons is higher than its budget for education.  Hmmm. Do you think there could be a connection?

Despite all the talk about making budget cuts as far from the classroom as possible (to minimize the effect on students), in reality my own district is cutting 82 elementary teaching positions by upping the size of elementary classrooms. Forget 20 to 1.  Now we’re talking 32 to 1 in K-5.

This all seemed like a black cloud looming on a distant horizon, until I learned this week that in addition to the 82 teachers, additional teachers will lose their jobs due to declining enrollment and because of the reassignment of Curriculum Resource Teachers (CRTS) and Language Development Resource Teachers (LDRTs) back to classrooms.

So, that is why I was up at 4 a.m. (on a school night!) combing over the 70-page seniority list.  The RIF (Reduction in Force) notices go out March 15. That black cloud on the horizon now hovers overhead.  My fingers are crossed.  Not just for me and those whose jobs are on the chopping block, but for the students we teach.  These students are the future, and despite all this talk about how important education is, the tsunami from the budget cuts will have a profound effect on them. This disaster has been long in the making.  Did no one think to check the flashlight next to the bed?