School systems undervalue teachers
May 05, 2013 12:15 AM | 1551 views | 7 7 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
DEAR EDITOR:

All across our country this spring, school boards are looking at millions of dollars they need to trim from their school district budgets. It seems like an insurmountable task. How do you provide the necessary support for schools when revenues are dwindling or not there?

It is tempting, since the majority of operating budgets go to teacher salaries, to balance the budget by cutting teaching positions, but by doing so, think about what you are telling the public and educators. You are saying that teachers are not valued and they are expendable. You are saying that a program, a curriculum, or a piece of technology is more important than an in-the-flesh person whose mission is to educate your children. You are saying that student-teacher ratios do not matter to the welfare of our students and educators.

It is no surprise why parents pull their children from public education and enroll them in private schools. It is not just because of the behavior of the other students or that they want religious education. In large part, parents pull their children out to take advantage of the low student-teacher ratio, because it does make a measurable, positive, long-term impact on our students.

There are two things that schools cannot exist without, the first being children and the second being the teachers that educate them. How can school districts make good on the promise to a generation of young people that they will have access to an exceptional education system when we are not willing to pay for the adequate number of teachers? Beyond this, we need to overhaul our outdated and archaic funding systems and change existing education paradigms to achieve what the typical school should and can look like in the future.

It will take forward-thinking board members to advocate for how the principals of Universal Design for Learning can be utilized to bring up the achievement of all learners and smash the barrier between special and general education.

Most importantly, it will take board members and the general public to put pressure on local and state governments to find ways to increase revenue for teacher salaries, because at the end of the day, we still need to pay for them.

I am well aware that my voice is but one in a sea of concerned educators, but the overall feeling I get is that teachers don’t feel listened to. So perhaps those in charge of balancing the school district budget and casting a vision for the future, should start listening to educators. But what do I know? I am just a teacher.

Tim Villegas

Special Education Teacher

Marietta
Comments
(7)
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anonymous
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May 08, 2013


Paragraph: “It is tempting….. You are saying that student-teacher ratios do not matter to the welfare of our students and educators.”

-You propose no solutions. Meaningless drivel of a paragraph. S-T ratios apparently don’t matter much – as they have gone up a great deal in recent years – while at the same time: disciplinary measures have stayed the same or improved and test scores have improved

Paragraph: “It is no surprise why parents…”

o You know this because? And parents pulling their children out of public schools is bad for public schools because??? Actually it is good for public schools as the funding for the kids stays with the public schools. Mindless argument to make – the more kids in private schools, the better for public schools.

Paragraph:” How can school districts make good on the promise to a generation of young people that they will have access to an exceptional education ….”

-In no way has anyone promised an exceptional education. An “adequate” education is all that is promised. As you note above – if you want an exceptional education – homeschool or go to private.

Paragraph: “…. smash the barrier between special and general education.”

•Barriers should be maintained, dumbing down education is not the way to go.

Paragraph: “… we still need to pay for them.”

•There is no shortage of teachers and scores have gone up while pay has gone down. Seems like “pressure to perform” has been more successful than throwing more money at it.

Paragraph:”.. should start listening to educators. But what do I know? I am just a teacher.”

o Just an employee

anonymous
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May 08, 2013
My neighbors (husband and wife) are both retired teachers from the Cobb County school system and when given any opportunity will proclaim just how bad the public school system is. Listening to them one would get the idea that any child in public schools is practically the spawn of Satan and parents who send their children to public schools are bordering on child abuse. Their grandson attends private school, and yet his mother teaches at a Cobb County school. What should someone glean from this?
anonymous
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May 05, 2013
I was with you up to the point you said, "...the principals (sic) of Universal Design for Learning...smash the barrier between special and general education."

I'm not an educator, only an observer with four kids in the CCSD. Reaching all kids is important to me (as are all the teachers per your point), but the effort placed on special ed and honors ed is leaving the middle of the road kids to fall through cracks. Where are the advocates for boring ole regular kids?

In any case, keep on thinking and offering up your opinions. We parents appreciate measured, intelligent input from teachers who care and are affected by beaurocratic decisions. But heed what the other poster said about union dues going to push a national liberal (Wm Ayers) agenda of "social justice" education and other nonsense. The national liberal agenda is already obvious in south Cobb schools, and this is one reason they are not as highly regarded or rated. A seventh grader at Cooper is learning about social justice, while a seventh grader at Dickerson is learning real history and algebra. Which kid is going to do better on the SATs and life in general?
Jane W.
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May 05, 2013
Ironically, the private schools the writer lauds -- are looked upon as enemies by the teachers' unions.

They use the dues money of a minority of member teachers to attack parental choice and even charter schools.

Every member of the Georgia Association of Educators (CCAE, locally) bankroll this attack -- to the tune of at least $168 extra they pay yearly to belong to the National Education Association.
Cobb's Patriot
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May 05, 2013
We send our children to private school, we don't care. If those who cannot afford privare school want to pay more for teachers let them. But don't tax me so you can have a superior education.
cobbmomof2
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May 05, 2013
Cobb's Patriot your comment makes no sense. Don't tax you to provide a superior education for public education? Are we to believe that you will pay out of pocket for an inferior education? I don't know what a privare school is, but my children have attended both public and private schools, I prefer the public school environment. Just because I pay tuition doesn't give a private school the right to dictate how to raise my children, how to dress my children, or what entertainment is appropriate for my family. Unfortunately the private school tried to do all of the above so they no longer receive a hefty tuition from my family. I'm so glad you don't care about your fellow human beings or the education of the majority of children who will be working to pay for your Social Security payments. You appear to advocate for private education only, if one can't afford private school they shouldn't receive an education. Perhaps you should get back in your time machine and return to the 17th century, your thoughts and beliefs aren't wanted here.
Watcher...
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May 14, 2013
Why should a Family that has Children in a Private School pay CCSD property taxes.

Can you say: Double Taxation?
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