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.

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