Saturday, February 6, 2010

And Now...An Education Rant!

Poor neglected blog. Radish misses you, and I miss Radish. He must be most of the way to Australia by now. But that is not why I stopped by.

It is election time and my school district is asking voters to pass a levy and a bond. This of course always produces letters to the editor of our local paper who feel that schools don't need money and teachers are overpaid. And I am always annoyed by idiots who think that teachers can show up to a barren classroom and pull a perfect education out of their ass.

So I wrote a rebuttal to this week's letter from somone who complained that we're always asking for money and have too many vacations and that police officers are also underpaid and never ask for anything more (then why are they calling me all the time asking for donations?) and that we don't need more money especially for technological gadgets, we need only be more passionate about what we do.

I was limited to 250 words. I had way more to say than this. And I left out the part where the school where I work had to rent port-a-potties when our plumbing backed up.

Wouldn’t it be great if passionate teachers were all it took to create and maintain effective schools? There is much more to a school than passionate teachers. There is art, music, foreign language and, yes, technology, which are all offered as electives: the first programs to be cut when the belt gets tightened. There are textbooks which need to be updated or at least replaced when they are falling apart. There is class size which when larger allows for less individualized attention to our students. There is maintenance to our schools, which provides for a safe and healthy environment for our children—ceiling tiles that stay on the ceiling, plumbing that doesn’t shut down half the restrooms. And, yes, there are technological gadgets, such as updated working computers, which in this era are more and more necessary. I know that where I teach, I will not have an electronic whiteboard anytime soon, but the maintenance we do get will be important for our students’ wellbeing. Being able to send my students to an elective that will develop their talents and interests in a more well-rounded manner will be important. Being able to provide our students with textbooks that aren’t tattered, and time that isn’t splintered among 35 other children will be important. There is so much more to a school than teachers. Passion for our students’ education cannot provide everything that is important to your child.

Sigh. I need a vacation. ;)


Lissa said...

Um... well I'm not sure if I'm supposed to comment, but I agree. My school has a few teachers retiring this year that they do NOT wish to replace and if that happens then we may not have home ec or choir next year! It's terrible. Yet we have CFF, classrooms for the future, with mac carts, electronic white boards, projectors, yadayada. I say I was fine with chalkboards if it meant I could have choir!

Gillian said...

If I had to choose between an electronic whiteboard and losing an elective, I'd also keep the elective. We no longer have choir, and home ec was phased out before I moved to this middle school 7 years ago (which is a shame, since home ec skills are very practical). We are fotunate to have 3 languages available, but not for long...

Since I posted that, our school was identified as "failing," and we will be going through the "turnaround" model of restructuring: lose our leadership, replace at least 50% of the staff and become a focused STEM school (a Sci-Tech-Engineering-Math school in an 85-year-old building with circuits that blow if you look at them sideways?). We have been told that "disruptive change" is good. It will certainly be...interesting.

Thanks for your comment. :)

Insomniyacker said...

keep blogging! aj :)

Scratch the hostile fay said...

There used to be bumperstickers you could did it go?

"It'll be a fine day when the schools have all the money they need, and the military has to hold a bake sale..."

Or something like that.

Good luck :)


Gillian said...

Thanks. We're still on the disruptive roller coaster, so I think I'll need all the luck I can get.