I yelled at the television last night. I know…rookie mistake. Legislators don’t listen to real people anyway, much less those trying to talk to them through the screen. But seriously…what are going to do next to undermine education in this state?
First we adopted Common Core without the money to fully implement it. We don’t have the money to update our technology and make computers available to all of our students, even though CC requires that we do so. We don’t have the money to hire more regular ed. teachers and reduce class sizes. We don’t have the money to hire more special ed. teachers and provide individual students with the added assistance they will need to pass the new expectations. We don’t have the money to hire more teaching assistants. We don’t have the money for new materials and supplies. We don’t have the money for extra training.
Then we asked some school districts to teach the new CC goals and demand higher levels of performance from students while at the same time packing more of them into overcrowded classrooms with less and less one-to-one teacher time. Some elementary classes now boast 25-30 students! Most experts agree that 15-20 is the optimum class size for truly effective teaching. Most classrooms were designed for 15-20.
Now…now we are going to “allow” some schools to meet the requirements of Common Core in half the time???? Optional half-day kindergarten? What in the world are we thinking? I am a pretty good teacher and I have a difficult time teaching everything my students need in the time allotted to us from 7:45 to 2:45. By the time we subtract two meals, bathroom breaks, two recesses, and a little music, art, and science, we barely have enough time to fully teach the language, reading, writing, and math skills now required by the state. We don’t even have naps anymore! So how is a teacher going to accomplish just as much in half the time?? We can’t overlook anything in the curriculum or let students slide on any skill because mandatory retention (also passed as law) is just around the corner in third grade! These students must be fully prepared and capable of passing the state reading test. So are half-day kindergarten teachers going to completely give up on recess, art, music, and science in order to teach enough reading, writing, and math?
And what will the teachers do during the other half of the day? Teach another kindergarten class, thus doubling their planning and assessment time? Or teach another subject/class? I was once offered a job teaching kindergarten in the morning and three classes of fifth grade English in the afternoon. Does anyone understand how incredibly difficult it would be to do any of that effectively?
What will working parents do with their kindergarten children in the afternoon? Put them into a daycare that may or may not support our educational goals? Leave them with someone who parks them in front of a television or hands them a game device?
Of course this law is being proposed for the sake of the budget, not to improve the education of our children.
What next? What will the guys in the suits- who haven’t been near a real classroom in years- think of to undermine our attempts to educate our children to compete in a world that is plagued by financial and political problems created by more guys in suits?