CA Budget Cuts Destroy Education

I was not given a pink slip and get to keep my job, even though my position was on the chopping block. The list of positions included two high school special education resource specialist teachers and I was the last one hired. I’ve heard from a few sources that the resource teachers from Vintage were finishing up their two years of probation but were not re-hired so the district could keep me. I’m flattered if that is true but really sucks for those teachers if they were given any other story than they could not be kept because of budget reasons, because if they were just not re-hired, they will always wonder what they did wrong.

It’s hard not to get angry but I am so sick of reading the rants of right wing conservative bloggers who blame mostly teachers, but sometimes firefighters or other public servants, for being responsible for all the ills of society, let alone depleting public funds with our big salaries and huge pensions. Really? I have more post graduate units than most attorneys and make a fraction of what they do. Or anyone else who has had to take as many post graduate courses as I have.

I know it is irresponsible to post data with out a source but I’m too tired to go look for it. Anyway, I read that before Schwarzenegger took the office of Governor, there were very few, like 20 (I don’t remember the exact number) people that worked in the capitol building in Sacramento that made over $300,000 a year, and in 2007 – the year of our budget crisis, there were over 100.

So yeah, some days it’s hard not to get angry.

Since When Do Teacher Haters Make Up the Majority?

I hope I am not being naive but I can’t believe the things I read that members of my community post on articles or letters regarding anything education related on my local newspaper website or local message boards. Even articles hailing a certain school’s achievements or ones reporting upcoming public performances. Usually more than half of all the comments are “less than supportive” of public school teachers by describing us as tree-hugging, lazy, overpaid, unethical, “part-time”, and a complete waste of public money. Is it like this everywhere or do I just live in a conservative area? I realize that hating teachers is no different anywhere else but I don’t recall the number of people doing the bashing being the majority before. Has it always been like this and I just never noticed it?

I am more than tired of reading the incorrect information these extremists post too. It’s as bad as the propaganda you read about in college history text books. My favorite so far is, “…studies have repeatedly shown that reducing class size prove no benefit to test scores”. So not true. Every study I found after researching this, looking for what study this guy could possibly be talking about, shows nothing but the opposite. (Class Size Reduction Research) And by the way, with the public’s misconception about teacher’s unions, along with the blatent propaganda by exstremists about them, I would be EATEN ALIVE if I posted a CTA link as a source anywhere else except my own blog, lol. (I chose it because the page has link at the bottom that succintly summerizes many more recent results).

I realize that bashing and blaming teachers for all of society’s ills is nothing new but it seems like I see it soooooooooo much more in the past three months with all the media’s coverage on education budget cuts. I also realize that it comes from everywhere, not just conservatives. I questioned if was the area I live in because the onslaught of recent posts in my local newspaper website come from from the same people who disparage our “Socialist” president with Rush Limbaugh quotes. (Many more inaccurate or non-exsistant “studies” in those posts too).

The last time I noticed it being this common to use teachers as scapegoats for everything under the sun being this ridiculous was when CA had a (very expensive) “special” election during Schwarzenegger’s first year as Governor in California. Almost every proposition of his (all but two) had to do with new laws to keep public school teachers from continuing to cause most of California’s economic and social problems. The arguments in the written material were shocking as much as they unfounded and absurd. Not one of his propositions passed in this wasteful election but knowing he feels this way, I’m now thinking we shouldn’t be so surprised with his $15 billion dollar budget cut to California public education.

Speaking of, I need to go and prepare myself emotionally for the pink slip I will be getting today as well as find something pink to wear for “pink friday”. I leave begging all to not believe the incredible misinformation being spread out there about my profession. Teachers are some of the most dedicated, selfless people I have come across.

CA Budget Crisis & Teacher Layoffs

Because of education being hit so hard in California’s budget crisis, there is a good chance that I will be losing my job at the end of this school year, making this the third teaching job in 10 years. If I do get to keep my teaching position, I will have many more students both in the classes I teach and on my special education caseload, with less time in my schedule to prepare for and serve both as prep periods are being taken away. This will be the situation for almost all teachers in my state who continue to be employed.

Laying off teachers seems to be the method of choice used by most CA school districts in responding to having tens of millions of taken from their annual budget. The Napa Valley Unified School District, the district I teach high school for, has had over $17 million dollars cut and will be eliminating over 80 teaching jobs. The way most CA school districts have been able to eliminate teaching positions is to play with their numbers in class size and/or doing away with prep periods. Some, like Napa, are willing to pay the fines to have more than a 20:1 student to teacher ratio in K-3, because more money is saved overall with less teachers. The school board position is teacher salaries make up the majority of it’s budget, so there is no other way to save $17 million dollars without reducing the amount of teachers.

So far 16,087 pink slips have been delivered to California teachers as of today, March 1st. This number is increases daily and the deadline, the day the majority of us will get ours, isn’t even until March 13th, “Pink Friday”. (More info at www.pinkfriday09.org as well as ideas for that day, how to help support teachers, and a forum).

Although the affects of this will further destroy public education in California (something started years ago at the federal level with NCLB – No Child Left Behind), I have been dis-heartened to find this seems to bother very few. In fact, there are some singing it’s praises. I had no idea there was such a large group of people out there who have believed every bit of propaganda fed to them about public school educators until reading the comments on the many articles and/or letters that have been in the media recently.
I’ve included a link to show the latest example:
Rethinking School Layoffs, a letter to The Napa Register

The comments made in this letter to the editor of the Napa Register shows just little people know about public education or teaching in public schools. Some comments have left me completely amazed how gullible (or stupid) people are. Like I said, I had no idea of the number of teacher-hating extremists there were until reading the number of comments made to the several articles/letters on the topic of teacher lay-offs.

If you are one who is bothered by any of this, there will be events all over California, around March 13th, a.k.a. Pink Friday, where protests and rallies will be taking place that I strongly encourage you to attend and support your local school teachers. I also encourage you to write letters to legislators and/or a local newspaper, or at least pipe in on some discussions and support public school teachers. Especially if you see the majority of posts or comments are not in their support, like in the link I included.

And thanks for reading. I know everyone is affected by budget cuts and my post only mentions CA teachers but it is what’s on my mind as I prepare for my pink slip I will be handed next week. So because of this, please comment about how any budget cuts are, or will be affecting you or those close to you, whether it relates to education or not. I would love to read about it.