August 20, 2009
AP Photo/Detroit News, Clarence Tabb, Jr.
Today, a local news station announced that Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) are 80 teachers short. With the new school year fast approaching, it was reported that if these vacancies are not filled soon, many classes will be larger than previously expected. The report also went on to say that parents will have to do more in the educating of students at home.
Ladies and gentlemen, it looks like we have the solution to healthcare reform and doctor shortages rolled into education reform. Just stock up on bandages and castor oil and it will be alright.
Of course I am being facetious.
When I was younger and I needed help with my homework, my parents used to ask, “Why am I sending you to school?” My parents made sure I was fed, had shelter and clothes, and, they supported the teachers if they solicited their assistance when it came to my behavior. No, I didn’t want my parents at my school to take care of something I had done. It was not going to be pretty and I wasn’t going to be happy. Furthermore, why should my parents, after working all day, spend the night teaching me “the new math” or parts of the school curriculum? They were not trained in those areas. My teachers were, or, at least should have been.
I took that same attitude into the classroom when I began to teach. When I gave homework, it was so the student could practice a new skill. If a student made an honest attempt to complete an assignment, and was unsuccessful, he/she could come to me. The parents and the child did not have to spend quality time at home frustrated as they all tried to figure it out.
If I have a medical problem, my husband and I don’t sit up all night trying to figure it out. We go to someone who is a trained specialist in that particular area.
So, with an attitude that I was going to teach, and, I was going to solicit the support of parents to make sure I taught, the students and I learned from and taught each other.
Teachers in this society are not given their due respect. Sure there are some bad ones out there—there are bad apples in every bunch and every profession. However, when this budget crunch began, teachers were cut indiscriminately in an effort to balance the state’s debt. How can a state that for many years has suffered a teacher shortage cut positions in such a manner? Good teachers, great teachers were made to suffer the anxiety of a possible job loss and then, last spring, dealt the blow of an actual job loss. The results of such actions have caused some teachers to do what most teachers do after five years anyway—they left the profession altogether.
Underpaid, overworked, and disrespected, teachers have bore the brunt of this state’s budget deficient. Now that the new school year is upon us, what are we going to do? CMS will possibly start the school year 80 teachers short. Unfortunately, this is not a unique situation. CMS is not the only school district in this state or this country with this problem. What happens now? Are we going to be sending our children into exceptionally large classrooms this new school year? Will the person at the front of the classroom be qualified or “just a warm body?” Will you, someone who is not trained in all areas of academia, be expected to teach your child at home after you have sent him/her to school all day? How will our children compete with their peers from other countries? Now that the final budget for this state has passed, what are we going to do now?
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