California could cut school year by several weeks - San Jose Mercury News
This would would be an absolute tragedy. I'm all for a little longer summer but this would just be a disaster. First off, we would once again be punishing the students who leave in the less affluent parts of the state, in the district that are struggling the most, since they would have to probably cut the most days. Our students would be at a greater disadvantage at simply knowing content for their subject areas. They simply would have learned less than other students putting them potentially behind students in other states and other parts of the state (depending on where they lived) when they apply and enter college and even enter the work force. If we were done with schools 3-5 weeks earlier our school year would be out before the nationwide AP testing (for those of you that don't know AP testing dates are not set by the district or school site but are the same nation wide).
When I read this article I did notice that someone posted that the government is only worried about the budget and that the teachers are only worried about their salary. I'm not only worried about my salary, I'm first worried about the kids, but for the first time in my career I have been forced to actually worry about myself. I'm never one who ends up doing the "work to rule" events that our teachers union puts on. I think they serve a potentially great point, to teach others how much work we do for our job that is outside of what we get paid. I personally run an entire weekly summer program in which I do not get paid at all.
But I am worried about my salary. I'm very worried about what will happen to me if we loose 3-5 weeks of school. With this job market and the loss of district summer school (which I could not have taught anyway since I'm a music teacher and we never had music in summer school) how the heck am I going to find a part time job for the summer when so many people can't find even full time work? How will I, like so many of my colleagues continue to do the same job for less pay? Heck, I already do have a summer job but I doubt I can ask for a raise, afterall its another public institution who is basically broke (San Jose State University). I know there are many people out there who are not in education who face this, but there are plenty of people outside education that would start looking for a new company to work for if that continued for years. How many people want to do the same job or more work for less pay? How many people want to do that for multiple years in a row? For the first time in my entire career, I'm honestly scared of that and it actually gets me down and makes me stressed. I wonder about my personal economic stability. How will I ever get out of this pile of student loan debt that I took out to further my career? How will I ever finish off paying off the credit card debt I got myself into when I first moved to the Silicon Valley and could not afford to live here? Screw home owner ship, that's the least of my concerns/interests at this point. Staying afloat is my biggest fear.
It makes me angry because I can't look at my students and say: If you work really hard in school and go to college and do really well, when you get into the work place you will be well taken care of. But I can't live in the doom and gloom all the time. What I can say with a smile though, is that I still believe education to be a noble profession, one in which I never ever regret entering and despite the budget issues and my personal concern about my own financial well being and future, I do my best to remain optimistic because ultimately this massive budget crisis is not my fault and its certainly not my students fault so I simply have to make the best of the time I am with them for the days that I am given with them each year.
I am I scared about the state of education in California? Absolutely. But as someone who is a 'fixer' of problems, I have zero idea of where to start. What I do know is we can not take away our students' education like this.