Friday, March 13, 2009

Pink Friday

So today is Pink Friday, and in our boxes at school were pink stickers we could wear advertising the event. Many of the lemmings wore them. The major Sacramento paper had a short article today which mentioned something I did in my linked post--some objected to the "pink".

It's not that I'm unsympathetic. I've received a couple of layoff notices during my time as a teacher, and was once actually laid off. It's a miserable feeling to lose your job, no matter who you are. I completely get that, and would offer what support I could to individuals who do actually get layoff notices. Remember, though, that today marks the day that districts must tell employees that they might possibly be laid off in June; today is only a warning of a potential layoff.

Education takes up half our budget. How can California not cut education spending when we have multi-billion dollar deficits? I understand the CTA wants to protect its own, but to do so at the risk of harming the state even more makes CTA akin to the most virulent of parasites.

And now I point out the obvious. Education is provided by the government, paid for by the taxpayer. In California we spend more than we take in, even during flush years; in not-so-good economic times, we have to cut a little but we certainly don't cut enough from the state's expenditures. That means that everything the government pays for faces financial scrutiny and is subject to cuts. Even if those cuts hurt some people--and they always hurt someone--they have to be made for the greater good, for the solvency of the government.

Do you want your health care subject to such fortunes?

1 comment:

Ellen K said...

Darren: Here's the thing, public schools didn't used to provide kindergarten. It was up to the parents to find pre-school situations and many parents (I know this will shock some...) stayed home until their kids were in first grade. Imagine that! Our schools currently provide care for critically disabled individuals. We also provide ESL and ELL education as well as programs for kids with what is euphemistically called "learning differences." We also provide some free meals-like two a day for some kids-and health screenings. This stuff costs money. And while there are specific populations that need educational services, I am not sure that placing a student who is wheelchair bound, on a catheter, cannot speak or write belongs in a large high school setting. It might make his parents feel better because they don't have to care for him personally or find a place for him to live, but you have TWO teachers for FOUR students and all kinds of special equipment and supplies necessary-including a car for transport to therapy. In the meantime, we just heard that no new teaching positions will be filled and our class counts will go up from 30 to 35. And this on top of pressure to demonstrate consistent improvement on high stakes testing at the state level. The schools cannot be the social catchall for the wishes and dreams of every group. It used to be our main concerns were in regards to teaching. Now just surviving seems to be the goal. And people wonder why so many schools are floundering under the weight of these additional and non-educational responsibilities. Something's gotta give.