Monday, March 16, 2009

Pink Slips and Teachers

I heard a brief snippet on the news Friday morning about the movement of wearing pink in support of all the preliminary pink slips that were to be handed out to California teachers that day. By the end of the morning, more than 26,000 teachers had been given preliminary pink slips. The day had been given the name Pink Friday.

So many surrounding school districts in our area have laid off dozens, some even hundreds, of teachers and aides. So far, I've not heard of any layoffs in our own school district. But I know the concern is there. One way to cut back on expenses is to do away with the class size reduction that is in place for grade K-3. Right now, in our school district, there are no more than 20 students in grades 3 and below. If they do away with that, and increase class size, they can eliminate positions. I heard there is a school in the next school district over that the class size was bumped to 35 students in recent weeks.

Not only am I sad for the teachers and assistants who've lost their jobs, but all this has got me to thinking about my own children's education will be affected by possible larger class size.

Hannah is already at the top of her class in reading. She's read all of the chapter books her teacher assigns to the reading groups and is reading them all for a second time. She got all A's (Advanced) and P's (Proficient) on her report card two weeks ago. At her parent/teacher conference in November, the teacher told me she gives Hannah extra worksheets to complete when she's done and waiting for her classmates to catch up. I can't help but think of how much more this would be the case if another ten, twelve, or even fifteen kids were added at this grade level.

I did read over the weekend in a news article that in our school district, it's in the teachers contracts for class size reduction to remain in place, and if it's changed, there must be a vote on the issue. That's reassuring...for now. But if things got really bad, and if larger class sizes meant saving ones job, I can't help but think the issue could be put to a vote, and possibly win.

This all got me to thinking about if classes became larger, I think I'm at the point now where I would homeschool the girls. We have many friends at the church who use a Public Charter School where you are accountable to a teacher, gives the lessons, even tests your kids, offers extra curricular activities, it's just like public school, but at home. Hannah could move at her pace and not have to wait for classmates to catch up. And if we went with this particular one, I'd have the support of many friends at church as well.

There was a time I thought I'd never send my kids to school, that's I'd homeschool them. And then we put Hannah in preschool and saw how the teacher had more patience and more energy and hadn't already exhausted both by the time school started with arguments on what to wear, what's for breakfast, etc, etc. LOL. The Lord opened the door for Hannah to go to the school she's at now. We take the school year, one year at a time, and so far, we've not had any problems. She's been successful, has all the basics down, and has grown and matured that I think we might just be able to homeschool if need be...

1 comment:

Kim said...

School decisions can be difficult. I'll be praying for you.

We are considering putting Abby in a local charter school that's set up to help homeschoolers. It's only one morning a week, plus one hour tutoring on a different day. My friend teaches the Kindergarten class which only has four students currently.

I am a bit nervous about public schools that say they want to "help" homeschoolers (you have to use their chosen curriculum, for example), but since my friend is a Christian and I am seriously needing some help (not to mention a break) with Abby, we might give it a try for the rest of the school year. Still praying about it...