Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Texas Education Troubles

I'm sure everyone knows about the major budget cuts that will be hitting Texas in the coming weeks and months. As a public school teacher, I'm more than fully aware of how this may affect me. The past couple of months at school have been filled with questions as to who will be laid off, how many will be laid off, and WHEN we will be laid off.

Everything has been hearsay up to this point. We assume that 1st year teachers will be laid off first, followed by second and third year teachers (we are probational for the first 3 years). My district offered a bonus for anyone who wanted to retire/give up their contract this year. I believe nearly 200 people took this offer, which saved over 100 teachers' jobs. These positions will not be replaced for the coming school year... meaning that class sizes may spike to a whopping 35 students per class.

The rest of us have been trying to wait patiently to find out how all of these changes are going to play out. It's assumed that those of us who are lucky enough to keep our jobs in the coming year will face many challenges due to the increased class sizes and decreased staffing. Many teachers will probably be displaced from their current positions and will be teaching a completely different subject/grade at a completely different school.

Earlier this week we were hit with even more discouraging news. The House approved a proposed budget (CSHB 1) that could end up leaving our public schools several billion dollars short in addition to what had originally been expected (nearly doubling the cuts). You can read the details here.

I really don't feel like I'm very knowledgeable about why this is happening. I'm not one to understand much about politics and typically don't care very much if I'm being completely honest. Contrarily, I am (obviously) taking interest in the current events. I'm going to try to withhold my opinions on all of this though, at least for now. Several of the teachers at my school will be emailing our Legislatures with their thoughts about this situation. You can find their contact information here if you feel compelled to do the same.

I have no idea what will happen if this proposal passes on Friday. All I know is that many of us are feeling very nervous, scared, and confused. I'm trying to hope for the best but I'm also preparing myself for the worst. I've heard that we will most likely know something by the end of next week, so my fingers are crossed. But you'd better believe that I'm hammering out plans B through D as we speak!

P.S. - I now know why I have a personal blog instead of a political-ish blog. Talk about drab. That was the most boring post I've ever had to write.