Why I Am Not Voting For Education Bond
Heartless Or Thoughtful
Many of you looked at this title and went wild. What does she mean denying money to education? That is lunacy. Our kids need more money spent on education. How does she expect kids to get educated if they don't have more money. These thoughts have all crossed your mind.
I love the students that don't fit the mold. One of my favorite students ever is Noah. Noah is smart and full of energy. When he was my student he was in second grade. Noah came into the class the middle of the year. Before I fully understood Noah I planned a problem solving activity. The allotted time was about 10 minutes. Each student had a partner. On each corner of a large table plates with 5 M&M's were placed. The students could eat the candy it they could get it to their mouths. They had to work with their partner but could not use their hands. This activity was to take maximum of 10 minutes. Noah took one look at the situation. Told his partner what to do and within 30 seconds they were both enjoying the candy. He followed the instructions and solved the problem so fast I had extra time on my hands. Noah kept me on my toes. I always planned extra activities to keep him busy after that.
Another of my favorite students was Grace. Grace was dyslectic; she tried so hard to do what I asked, but just couldn't. While Noah required more activity Grace required special help. Grace's help came from outside the classroom when here family was able to get her Susan Barton training. Within a year she became an excellent reader.
Though they weren't in the same class it is entirely possibly to have these kind of kids in one class. This can be a teachers nightmare. Teachers all over the country have this demographic in classrooms and amazingly they have success. Teachers are the hero's of our education system.
Parents are also the hero's of our education system. They care about their kids and work so hard to do what is best. Parents go without so their kids can have the best education available.
There are all sorts of reasons children do not get good educations; those are the reasons I won't vote to pass the bond that is on the ballot tomorrow.
Kids Need Education
As a teacher, parent and grandparent I am completely convinced that giving children a good education will allow them to reach their full potential. Each and every person is uniquely designed to do something amazing. Teachers have a unique opportunity to reach more people than imaginable .
Think about the teacher who caused you to work harder and perform better than you ever thought you could. My bet is that teacher gave you the guide lines expected you to do the work and when you didn't work up to capacity they told you plainly. I had teachers who could have been sorry for me and let me get by with mediocre work. I lost an eye when I was in kindergarten. I didn't know it was cancer until later.
I shudder to think what would have become of me had I been raised by helicopter parents (those who hover over their children's every move) or teachers who gave me special treatment. Those who educated me cared deeply that I was blind in one eye but refused to let me be treated differently than other kids. They didn't allow me to be bullied either. My parents loved me and expected me to do my best. Everyone expected me to be an independent learner at a young age. The reasoning was a good reader could learn just about anything. I could cook and clean the whole house by the time I was 11.
Teachers were allowed to teach skills that would enable kids to reach their fullest potential. The first reason I will not vote for the school bond is because teachers are no longer allowed to teach children age appropriate skills. That is enough information for another hub.
Money Is Helpful But Not The Solution To Everything
Having money to buy supplies is really useful. Being able to hire a bus service to take kids on field trips when you don't have enough parents to drive the class is really helpful. I love field trips! Field trips cost money.
Almost daily California is ranked in the bottom third of the United States for school spending.
The school district in my town of approximately 80,000 people is labeled a rural school district. For nearly 30 years people have been trying to get it re-accessed. It is not in the self interest of the state to do so. If the state can get good results without spending money why should they change and give the district more money?
The average spending per student in this district is $7,600. Which is some of the lowest spending in the state. There are other counties in the state where the spending per student in $18,000. Their test scores are nearly a 100 point lower than our scores.
The reason for this discrepancy in test scores can be argued is parents contribute funds to make up for the lack of state funding. When we had 3 children in school we budgeted nearly $1000,00 dollars a year for classroom supplies, science lab donations and extra circular activities. Parents, grandparents and volunteers make this school district amazing. It is not more money from the state that makes this district great. People make this district great.
Mark Zuckerberg of Face Book fame and his wife just donated $120 million dollars to San Francisco area schools. Not everyone swooned at this wonderful donation. Why? The donation is being given to train principals,and help students transition from eight to ninth grade and for technology. California is the tech capital of the United State yet many schools are far behind in technology? Steve Jobs donated thousand of computers to California schools 15 years ago? Some say that curriculum couldn't catch up with the the computers donated. If something doesn't get into the curriculum it is because it isn't important to the people driving the school bus.
According to the CA.gov approximately 53% of the state budget must be spent on education. Walk me through this, CA must spend by law (Proposition 98) a significant portion of its budget on education. Yet all the current news items say California is nearly at the bottom of spending per student in the country. California at one time was the fifth largest economy in the world. It has been shrinking, but I don't think it has shrunk to the point that spending $7,600. a year on a students education is going to reach anywhere near 50% of the budget.
Where Is The Money Going?
It appears California is putting lots of money into education. Where is the money going?
There are different boards of education which receive funding before the local district and the children. The Federal Department of Education. California State Board of Education, each of 43 county boards of education and finally local boards in each school district get money. Most of the power local school boards weld is over the land their district owns. There are some other thinks they control, but mostly they have to do what the county, state and federal boards tell them to do.
California cannot or I should say could not use text books used in other states until Common Core came into effect. Because books for this state were different they cost more. Common Core may be a big bust to the textbook industry if every state needs to use the same government spawned texts.
Millions of dollars goes into testing. Our children were told the STAR testing wouldn't hurt their grades, All they needed to do was eat a good breakfast, get a good night sleep, and relax the night before the tests. Years later we learned the tests were designed to direct the classes each pupil could take. Of course that begin until everyone had forgotten until years after the tests were implemented and all the promises were broken. The state has always had tests to determine whether kids were being educated well. When STAR testing replaced SAT(not related to college entrance exams) everything was radically different. Millions had to be spent implementing these tests. The entire curriculum was rewritten so teachers could teach to the tests. Good curriculum was tossed out in favor of untried curriculum. There wasn't a teacher who didn't start to teach to the test. Everyone said that wouldn't happen, This is the transition year to common core and eleventh graders have to take both the STAR and new Common Core exams. The time away from actual teaching was 2 1/2 weeks. For a students studying for advanced placement exams losing those weeks of tutoring was devastating. But the amount of money spent well it's just money.
Think it is preposterous that schools would teach to a test try selling a house where the local school has poor test scores.
Those are just a few ways educational money goes away from children.
The California Teachers Association spent 156 million dollars on advocacy campaigns over the last nine years. I am not sure the union made conditions for teachers much better. They come in and sound big when it's time for contract negotiations, but they have been known to bully teachers who don't conform to their ideals.
There are around 350,000 public school teachers in California who have to belong to the teachers union.
There are hundreds of private and charter school teachers who do not belong to the teachers California Teachers Association. The CTA is against charter schools which in some instances can be very bad, but in many cases are above average.
The C.T.A is interested in protecting its special interest. This is an excerpt from the the CTA website. "...growing evidence that funding for many of the “parent trigger” initiatives comes from wealthy philanthropists, policymakers, and think tanks that support charter school expansion and free market approaches to school reform".
Parent trigger laws allow parents with children at low performing schools to request changes to improve the schools. How many wealthy philanthropists parents are there in low performing schools?
This sometimes includes changing teachers.
I love teachers, but the union sometimes protects teachers when they should be protecting children.
To fire a teacher in California can take years and cost thousands of dollars principals don't have to spend.
There is no reason sever enough for a California Teachers Association member to be outright fired from a teaching job.
Currently there are teachers either teaching or receiving paychecks from the their school districts throughout the state with assault, rape, and murder charge pending.
I was listening to an educator talking about thousands of computers donated to our schools by the high tech industry in the last 15 years. Apparently curriculum hasn't ever been developed to use these computers to their fullest potential. Steve Jobs donated thousands of apple computers because teaching kids to use computers in school would encourage parents to buy apple products to match what the kids had at school.
Sacramento And Beyond
People are elected to state offices who have the best intentions. They truly plan to be problems solvers, but they are wined and dined by the establishment. They are treated like royalty and are swayed into believing the right way is the way it has always been. It is a sad state of affairs the way political favors are bought and sold in this country. It is especially sad when our children are the target of bad educational decisions because of social ideology and politics.
I must confess there is a perk for in not voting for this school tax. It is an continuance of a tax that was voted in ten years ago. I wouldn't have to pay so much property tax if this tax fails. I completely trust the administrators of our school district. It is the people who make all the money and decisions in Sacramento I have doubts about. Unfortunately every bit of money goes through Sacramento before it ever comes back to the local level. Not much of it comes back, This is why I won't vote for the school tax this election.
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