Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Are Teacher Layoffs Necessary?

There has been extensive talk about educational budget cuts lately.  There are now at least 2,000 teachers in Texas who have received notice of termination at the end of the 2010-2011 school year due to budget constraints.  There is no question that school districts will receive less operating money for the 2011-2012 school year; but is there no other way to trim costs than teacher layoffs?

During my first year of teaching, I purchased a US map jigsaw puzzle for my own children.  I bought it at a local discount store for $3.33.  I decided it would be a great teaching tool in the classroom and asked permission to buy one for my students.  I was allowed to purchase it, but not at the discount store.  It seems the store did not accept purchase orders and the district would not operate any other way.  I was told to purchase the puzzle at the school supply store for $9.99.  I questioned the wisdom of that and received the oldest answer in the book.  "That's the way we have always done things." 

Here are some measures a few districts are implementing to trim the budget rather than teacher layoffs:
  • Freeze salaries of all employees
  • Cut supply budgets
  • Restrict travel distance for sporting events
  • Revamp bus routes to save fuel cost
  • Use school district employees to conduct in-service
  • Consider a 4 day week which would save on fuel for buses and buildings
  • Examine food budget to determine amount of  food wasted by students
These are only a few suggests that should be consider before terminating teachers. 

Here are a few questions that should be asked:
  • A good teacher can teach without a book.  Can a good book teach without a teacher?
  • How many students will make a career of sports?
  • Can success be achieved without the ability to play football?
  • Can success be achieved without the ability to read?
  • Can we justify paying a supertindent $320,000 and terminating teachers who make $32,000?
If we do not answer these questions the education of our students will suffer.  It is time for the communiy to get involved in the decisions made by the local district. 
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