Sunday, March 1, 2009

It All Matters!

Okay, Spot. You have not been a naughty boy. You are a good little get that chin up again. They're not mad at you. Budgets all over the country are under scrutiny. Household budgets are under scrutiny. We're all working hard and our houses have less value, our savings are slimmer, but we don't mean to take it out on you. So why do we?
Why is it that all the towns around the country look at the education budgets first? Why do they go after the teachers' salaries and then go after class sizes and the small upkeep projects of the schools? Why? Can we not see that if we stay the course, we're protecting our legacy? We're placing the nation's future in a huge savings account. President Obama gets it, despite what the conservatives have to say on the issue. They're out there crying 'socialism', and believe me, that will be their battle cry from now until the next election. Rush is 'fired-up' and loving all the attention. (He needs to lose a little weight, though, be carrying on like that!) That's why he's calling for the failure of this President's tenure before he's even hit his two month mark. They're mad. They've had to take all their toys out of the White House and find someone else to lead them. Trouble is, he's not acting like a patriot, he's trying to sensationalize and sabotage. But, I digress.
The educated know that schools matter, that teacher satisfaction matters and that class size matters too. We've been in the midst of a sad trend...talking up school failure. Yes, we have a lot to do to standardize a fair approach to our students in this country. We definitely need to bring in line the curriculum of the varied regions and states in this country. But we will never forge ahead in preparing our students for the 21st century if we insist on dismantling our educational system every time the economy begins to tank out.
A 21st century educational plan includes deep critical thinking skills, fast-paced inquiry-based investigative learning, increased technological skills to back up investigation and strengthened communication abilities both verbally and written too. How will that happen with larger class sizes? With fewer teachers the equation is dismal, at best. Most people that argue this do so on the basis of how they were taught. Sure, I had 60 kids in my second grade classroom (I kid you not!). I am a successful adult teacher, and I continue to seek what I need to know, because I've always loved to learn. That was innate for me and it is for some. But not for all, that's for sure.
The kids we see today often have both parents working long hours and therefore no adult at home waiting with peanut butter cookies to have a long conversation. These kids want and need conversations, stories and the constant stream of attention they can't get in a group of 25 and above. The kids from yesteryear were hardworking often with babysitting jobs and paper routes, but school came first no matter what. The expectation today is that all teachers document each student with an individual education plan, much like we did with special needs students in the past. We are to maintain data and work toward a solution if a student encounters a problem. In large numbers this is an impossible task. Small classes and teacher satisfaction go a long way in getting the job done.
So Spot, today's lesson: Lift your head, and we will too. We did nothing to bring on this awful Economic Crisis. It was the high rollers that squandered the pensions and the pocketbooks, even the promise of employment for all of today's citizens. So...why is it that the lesser of our citizens, the children and the teachers have to be the first ones to pay? You didn't do it, Spot. And neither did I. Hopefully, the grander system will watch our backs (You know the ones the conservatives are calling socialists. Name-calling is so second gradish). For they know that an investment in a child is of great SOCIAL value to us all! That is our legacy, Spot.


  1. Hi Spot,
    I feel your pain. These are indeed dark days for you, aren't they? If it's any consolation, you're certainly not alone. Lots of people are hurting-unemployed, underemployed, foreclosures, bankruptcies, more layoffs, you get the picture. As advised to do, get your chin up and move forward. Brighter days are coming!

  2. Good advice for old Spot. Time for all of us to find ways to do a little more out there for each other too. Lots of people frequenting food pantries like never before. One thing that is important to note here...and I do so tenderly, that this district's budgets are in the black. I do know, though, that things have changed for many over the course of this year.