Many, many thanks to Texan Mama for the inspiration of this post. Yup, just blame her after the dust has settled; because she is the one that reminded me how much this topic gets my dander up.
It’s the public school system. Particularly here in our area. First things first, I DO NOT have a problem with our teachers. All the teachers that Man-Child has had while in public schools were phenomenal. And I can honestly say, that our public school teachers are not getting paid for what they are truly worth. It is true that he no longer attends public school – but there were other factors that prompted this – not the teachers.
For the past three years or so I have been active in the Harvest for Teachers program. This program partners businesses in the community with needy schools. Basically the businesses allow flyers of “wish lists” and provide boxes for donations to the schools. Recent studies show that the average teacher spends about $1,200 out of pocket for school supplies. This is an outrage. To be fair, here in our school system we had a program that provided first year teachers $400 for supplies – it has been cut. So I ask you, how can a first year teacher (who most likely a graduate with mega-loans, etc.) be expected to come up with that kind of cash for supplies – especially if this is their first job? Even if it’s not, the salary of an average teacher cannot possibly be able to sustain that kind of out of pocket expense. This is a fabulous program and I support it whole-heartedly.
But what truly chaps my hide . . . okay one of the many things about our school system that chaps my hide, is the fact that we are throwing good money after bad into the system. Last year alone the 2008 operating budget for the country school system was $546,412,884.00. That’s a lot of dinero, my friends. But yet they can’t provide the basic supplies for students? On top of that is the state lottery. The way it was presented to the voters, it was to be an education state lottery with proceeds going to the schools. Well, it doesn’t work the way that it was perceived to work. Most thought that the proceeds would head to schools on top of what the federal/state/county gave to the schools. No. Whatever proceeds went to the schools from the lottery the federal/state/county deducted that amount from what they gave. So in reality, the schools aren’t getting anything extra. And on top of that, our governor recently took money from that lottery account for another use. Granted we are in an economic crises – but that kinda shoots the bird at the voters doncha think?
And then, when I actually look at the schools I have to wonder where the money is going? A lot of our students go to schools that are extraordinarily old and in disrepair, where there are leaks, mold, where AC and heating work only sporadically. A lot of our students go to class in trailers. I am not a CPA (hell I can’t even balance my checkbook); but it seems to me that there is a lot of waste going on and somebody needs to look into this.
Don’t even get me started on the whole “teach to test” crap that is going on!! Man-child’s second grade teacher actually told us at the beginning of the year that all they would be doing that year is preparing them to be able take the state-mandated EOGs (end of grade tests) the following year!!!! Are you freaking serious? I’m going to stop here, otherwise this post will go on forever and your eyes will glaze and you will slip into an information overload coma. And I don’t want that on my conscious. So I’m done; climbing down off my soap box to slink off to fume in silence.