Thursday, January 24, 2008

State of Emergency

For those of you who follow, or are part of, education in the state of California, I am sure you are aware of the governor's declaration of a fiscal state of emergency.

My district has already taken drastic steps in response to the news. For example:

1. No more copy paper for sites. Each teacher usually receives two cases a year(one at the start of the first semester and the other at the beginning of the second semester). This year we received paper for the fall and that is all. But hey, no problem. No paper = no copies. I wonder if they remember that they no longer purchase the consumables that come with our language arts curriculum, and I have been told I cannot legally require students to bring paper to class. Whose supposed to provide the needed paper? What? Who? Me?...Let's see...108 students...Okay, hold your breath and wait for it...wait...keep waiting...

2. All approved and district funded conferences/workshops were reviewed, and several were declined today. I was scheduled to attend a conference next Tuesday. The district paid for it a month ago, and they stated today that it has been declined. They will be requesting a refund (Apparently, our district officials include challenged readers because the form clearly states the deadline for refunds has passed, there will be no exceptions, and it is now too late for me to pay my own registration fees). Furthermore, the sub, who was to cover my class, no longer has an assignment that day. Well, actually, he/she might have one because I am thinking of taking the day off anyway.

It is sad no one contacted teachers before cancelling previously approved items. I know of four of us who were willing to pay out of our own pockets, if necessary, to attend meaningful workshops. We were also willing to use our personal time. Tomorrow, I am going to contact the company that offers the workshop and find out if there is any way I can still attend.

3. Three of our recent inservices have ended with the "motivating" revelation that they will "take our jobs" if this or that is not done. Who are these people who are lined up to replace me? My mother says news reports state we are in the midst of a teacher shortage. If you want to teach middle school raise your hand. Higher, I can't see all those eager people who want my j-o-b.

The only thing this type of threat may result in is me giving them the job and recommending a place for them to shove keep it.


I have often complained about the reactive nature of my district. Today's announcements were further proof of this. I have actually been asked, by a few of our district directors, how a school district could be proactive rather than reactive. Tell you what, I'll conduct the inservice. Let's start with the phrase "Think before you act"!

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