As a mom of three school aged children, I am seeing first hand as to what our school systems are faced with and it scares me. Our own school district is 16 million dollars in debt. Why? During the building/housing boom, our town was growing with families and the schools were too small. They built and built and now with four high schools, and countless middle and elementary schools, you obviously need to hire people to help run those schools, teachers to teach our children, and people to clean the schools, and so on. They spent money on things that we didn’t need (and still don’t, like the recorded ‘informational’ phone call messages they leave for you during dinner) and they expected the tax base to go on indefinitely. Now they, or we, are faced with solving this deficit problem within the next three years to comply with the State of Illinois mandate. You can check these links out for some more background on our own school and education situation: ABC 7 Chicago, Chicago Breaking News, Progress Illinois and of course, our very own Plainfield, Illinois school district 202 website.
This may not seem like a big deal to some, but it should. The choices we make today effect the children of today and tomorrow. By cutting back teacher salaries, eliminating teachers from our schools, removing extracurricular activities such as art, music and gym programs, decreasing bus routes, cutting sports programs, and foreign programs, it only means we aren’t fighting hard enough to keep them in tact. Our class rooms are already over-populated with each one having approximately 30 students to one teacher, so if you think the quality of their education isn’t hurting now, wait until you see mixed aged classes, or rooms with 30-45 students to one teacher. Mixed-aged classes are what they are planning to do with a select number of students from the third and forth grade in my childrens school. They are going to mix them together for specific classes to help with the budget recovery process. As a parent, no, I am not happy about this type of learning. Students need individual attention, they need to be able to connect personally with their educators, they need to have gym class (especially with childhood obesity at its highest), they need to have their souls nurtured with creativity, art and music, and they need it all to succeed in the 21st century and to help keep America competitive.
The good news is that an education amendment has been added to the pending jobs bill in Congress, which will help schools avoid such drastic cuts. I am asking that you help me get the word out. We need to be one voice telling Congress to pass the Education Jobs Fund. We must let our congressional representatives know how we feel about children’s education as well as support our teachers! Ask your community to take action now because next week maybe too late! Have them go to http://www.capwiz.com/nea/issues/alert/?alertid=15045411&type=co to forward a letter directly to their representative to have their voices heard. More information on this important legislation can be found at http://www.educationvotes.nea.org.
It’s time to fight for the educational experience that our children deserve!