Saturday, March 07, 2009

Sadly, I've Had to Let Most of My First Graders Go.

The economy is bad. You could argue that we haven't even hit bottom. Given the state of the state budget, it's pretty clear that the schools are going to get raked through the coals to help plug the budget gap.

I think that one of the big problems with teachers is that we're way too willing to sit back and let things happen to us instead of being proactive, so during parent/teacher conferences this week I went ahead and took the bull by the horns and told 50% of my class that they were being laid off.

Confusion, of course, was understandable. Many of the families that I fired were under the impression that they had some sort of "right" to a quality public education. One ridiculous wag even suggested that it was some sort of "paramount duty" for the state of Washington to fully fund public schools, but I think it's understood by all that the state constitution is meant to be a living, breathing document, and that most of us don't really know what "paramount" means anyhow, so what's the fuss?

It was hard on me, as their teacher, to watch these sad little first graders clean out their cubbies and return their school-issued glue sticks, but in these tough times I just can't keep on all the people that I taught before. Sure, having the campus security officer walk all the families out to the parking lot and order them off the school grounds immediately under threat of tresspassing charges maybe, maybe was a little over the top, but I have to look at the big picture, and the big picture right now is that me and the 12 kids who made it through this round of cuts are going to be OK.

I'm finding it very easy to sacrifice other people's educations to improve my own lot. I can see now why Olympia is finding it very easy, too.

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