Tuesday, February 24, 2009

striving for mediocrity

Today it was announced on the news that California is 48th in education. How pathetic is that?

The government has slashed educational spending by billions of dollars. Our district has to cut 40 million from the budget before 2011. I know that 10 is being cut from the year that has already started (yep, money that has already been spent must now be unspent) and another 10 from next year. And that doesn't even add up to the total cuts that need to be made.

Now, keep in mind that with all these cuts as a teacher I am expect to still do the following:

- provide varied educational experiences (this is educational speak for fieldtrips, which we can't go on because there is no money)
- use technology (there isn't any money to update technology, so we better hope nothing changes)
- give each student a book (let's hope they don't destroy the books, because there isn't any money to replace them)
- give students one-on-one differentiated instruction (this means, design lessons that meet each individual students needs, meanwhile the classes can have 40 or more students in them)
- provide for students who do not speak English, do not have money for supplies yet have a nicer cell phone than I do.
- manage classes full of kids who don't want to be there and don't care if they pass.
- fill out paperwork for students in special needs programs
- attend IEP meetings for those special needs students

All this while maintaining a positive attitude and smile. It's not wonder California is having a hard time recruiting high quality teachers. We are some of the lowest paid in the country (in relation to our cost of living). And the respect teachers get...oy! Athletes get more respect and most of them are criminals (just look at Michael Vick and his cohorts), these are the people teens look up to. If a kids is smart or wants to learn they are made fun of and ridiculed. It isn't cool to want to be involved with anything or be successful.

We live in a time of entitlement. A time where people expect to just "get". People don't think they have to work for anything. I blame this on the parents (not all parents, I know some who are teaching fabulous values and responsibility and I respect these people more than words can express). Parents who expect teachers to just give students an "A" for being in class not for doing quality work (quality doesn't matter). I actually had a parent tell me once that her child deserved an "A" in my class because he tried. Last time I checked trying isn't always doing. Needless to say that parent had her son removed from my English class. Then there is the parent who was just happy I have her son a ton of extra help and he was pulling a "C". (both these students were special ed, mainstreamed).

Wow, that is quite the rant...and all I really wanted to say is that at this point the state of California is just striving for mediocrity and I'm not sure we are reaching it.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

It's a dog's life...

Check out this new Puppy Store on Melrose...

pretty swanky huh?

Here is the catch, this store has dogs that have been rescued from Death Row in Los Angeles animal shelters.

When I was first sent the link I was furious. I don't like the idea of dogs being sold in stores, especially when so many of them come from puppy mills and other horrible breading conditions. And then I read their press release, I almost jumped out of my chair with a big "YES!!!" for those poor shelter dogs.

The Los Angeles Animal Care Centers have over 300 dogs in their 6 facilities. They will keep the dogs as long as they can, weeks or months, as long as room holds out, for these dogs to find their forever homes. And now with this pet store taking dogs off of death row and giving them a second chance...WOW, those are some lucky pups.

If you are looking for a dog (or cat) please consider adopting rather than buying from a pet store (unless it's OrangeBone Puppy Store) or breeder. There are so many adoptable animals just waiting for their forever homes, could it be with you?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Crap Storm

That's what I feel like I'm in, a huge crap storm. It seems like no matter what I do bad things happen to me. I keep being told that things will turn around, but right now it feels like if it wasn't for bad luck I wouldn't have any luck at all.

Here is the list of all that is bad:

1. The wind storm in January blew down the courtyard fence at the townhouse and did extensive damage to the back fence. The quote from the insurance company to get it fixed was less than 1/2 of the quote we got and would have gotten us $1.50 back on the claim. Told them to forget it.

2. B is being a little B. She this is still from the last big fall out. She says M isn't there for her, she told one of my students she doesn't like me (so, when/if M has visitation I don't go and if they come here I lock myself in my craftroom). Yet, she is still willing to ask him to do her favors like provide lights for her school dance, but doesn't know when she wants to talk to him next.

3. District budget cuts are putting my program in jeopardy. And they are talking about doing salary cuts.

4. I have to get a second job for us to pay our bills this summer, because of all the bad stuff that has happened in the past several months there is no savings.

5. I have been told I have to stay on our School Site Council although I have asked to leave it. I just don't have the time. Other things are suffering because of the commitment to this. I just stopped showing up to meetings.

6. My principal thinks I am the "Go To" gal because I am president of the staff club. I only continue to do that because I can't find someone else to take it over. I really don't want it.

Okay, I think that's enough, I'm getting stressed and upset just looking at that stuff. Which is surprising because normally I put it on "paper" and things don't seem so bad. They still seem bad, in fact, now they seem worse.

I hope everyone has a good day and that the crap storm lifts soon.