You CAN Do More with Less. But Only for So Long.

  1. The Governor did acknowledge that K12 is a huge line item – and one that has flexibility, compared to say, giving prison guards a month of furloughs. Of course, this is Colorado, where we amended our state constitution to provide additional monies for education, and the legislature used some creative math to circumvent that constitutional requirement as the economy worsened. So funding’s never been pretty. []
  2. No. They pretty much told. []
  3. Hey. C’mon. The other high school in town is doing it. I’m sure it’s good. []
  4. It seems that, according to one district source, asking a teacher to teach one additional course would only mean twenty minutes more of teaching per day. I don’t get that. Do you? []
  5. And there aren’t many. This is a divisive issue. Unfortunately. []
  6. I wish that the teachers in the district where I work had more time to be thoughtful. I spend a great deal of my time seeking ways to carve out that time. It’s hard to do. But worth doing. []
  7. And it does make sense. But at what greater cost? []
  8. The fact that teachers are spending so much of their time grading at home is of larger concern. But no one seems to want to talk about that much. []
  9. I know. The Finland comparisons are tired. But, at least in the area of professional development and how teachers spend their time, I think they’re worth making. Finland does teaching and learning differently. And it’s worth exploring. []

13 thoughts on “You CAN Do More with Less. But Only for So Long.

  1. Due to budget cuts, my fellow teachers and I are now teaching 7 out of 8 periods a day and most have more students in each section (previously we taught 6 sections, had a study hall and a prep). One teacher sees 173 students a day. There is no way to connect with students and be an effective teacher with those numbers. Hours are spent at home correcting assignments, planning lessons because there isn’t enough time in a normal school day. Burn out is high. There seems to be more teacher sick days.

    I read over what I have written and feel like a whiner–something I abhor–but the fact is, I feel like I failed my students this year and that is not acceptable.

  2. It’s coming to Wisconsin too. We are being hammered now (, which will completely impact the teacher work day and we will be hammered even more when the budget comes out next week.

    It’s unfortunate that people are looking at the almighty dollar and making drastic cuts, without looking at the long term impact of those cuts.

  3. Sadly, this has been the reality in Michigan for some time now. Granted, our economy tanked far earlier than did everyone else’s (thank you monolithic auto industry), but in both the district where I work and the district where my daughter attends Kindergarten the norm at the elementary level is 25-27 students per class, and at the secondary level we’ve been seeing classrooms north of 30 students. We still have decent negotiated planning time (a little more than 300 minutes a week), but that will soon come under attack as well from our new Governor, who is also shielded behind his heavy use of the word “efficiency”.

    In the end, it’s really easy to make us look like whiners, but the truth is far from it. After the huge protests in Wisconsin yesterday, perhaps we’ll see some more action from teachers in the near future.

  4. Deb- I don’t think you are being a whiner. What I hear you saying is that you are a caring teacher who is feeling ineffective because of a situation that is out of your control. That is a completely valid sentiment and argument. I taught in CA for 18 years before I moved to NC. My last semester in CA, my class sizes were 22 (a 9th grade intervention class) and two senior classes of 36 and 43. I taught previously at a middle school where I had a class load of 150-180 students. I get what you are saying. We are constantly compared to other countries, charter schools, private schools- but very few people understand exactly what a public school teacher’s day looks like and how that is different from all those places we are being compared to.

    I wish I had an easy answer for you, but I don’t. Don’t lose heart and don’t beat yourself up for not being the perfect teacher you expect of yourself. The fact that you care tells me that you are going in each day and doing the best that you can for those babies in your room. That is all any of us can ask of ourselves.
    Teresa Bunner´s last blog post ..If You Build IT- They Will Write

  5. Deb,

    You’re not whining. But you can’t blame yourself for the effects of a situation you didn’t cause. Maybe the only solution is to talk openly about the entire situation with the kids and see whether they have any ideas for how you can cope with this together, as a team. I have a lot of faith in kids.

  6. Dividing the primary & secondary teachers is a classic move.

    If they add an extra teaching period, teachers should refuse to do homework a win-win for all.

    This is all a way of sacking or not replacing teachers.

    I’d frankly prefer larger class-sizes.

    Less is NOT more in this case!!

    if management wants concessions, teachers should trade for more curricular autonomy – but they won’t because they’re weak and have no self-preservation quantities.
    Gary Stager´s last blog post ..What I’m Currently Reading

  7. I’m in my second year of furloughs and frozen salaries in SC. Our stipends for National Board have been eliminated at the district level, and the state stipends have been furloughed as well. We have had no teacher work days this year, except for the one in which the district made us sit in an auditorium all day to hear a guest speaker tell us how to teach with more energy and to build more rapport with our students.

    I understand the economy is bad – and in some cases, having fewer employees works. In the end, though, public schools have the same number (or more, if families can’t afford to send students to private school) of students as we did before the recession – our custodial staff (furlough days and hiring freezes) have the same number of hallways to clean – our media specialist (furloughs and loss of clerical support) has the same number of teacher teams with which to collaborate. We are not being asked to cut back a little; we are asked to do far more with far less. And, in the end, I think we might band together and handle this, except we have been made villains by so many legislators. We have heard about Superman, been discussed by educational geniuses (like Joe Scarborough) as part of Education Nation, and even been given the blame for the AZ shooting by the owner of USA Today.

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