As the school year opened, financial woes were at the top of everyone's list of topics vying for our attention. Teachers usually keep such questions on the side burner and get on with the job of helping our students learn and become balanced, productive individuals, but this year the financial questions loomed large for most of us.
In Arizona, where I live and work, we are looking at even larger cuts next budget year. So, though the dust has settled slightly and we are moving forward this year, districts are wary and teachers are on tinterhooks regarding what the next school year will bring. My district may lose librarians. As we awaited legislative budget decisions well into September this year, we were close to losing all art, music, PE, coaches, counselors, nurses, and librarians. There is great fear that this may happen next fall.
It's my belief that such underlying threats undermine the effectiveness of our teaching.
In a strange twist, in this same district is now rolling out equipment purchased with funds from an override voted in two years ago. So, in this tight time, all teachers are receiving a laptop, a document camera, and a ceiling-mounted projector. This hardly puts us in the forefront of technological readiness, but it's very exciting for teachers. Many are taking advantage of Professional Development opportunities that will help them use this equipment to transform their teaching, but others are so beaten down by the financial threats they are reluctant to put in time to learn how to use the equipment in transformative ways.
How are things going where you are? What's the outlook for the near future? What effects do you see on our students? What are some ways your teachers and administrators have found to be effective in keeping these issues outside the classroom?