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6/16/2006

The Numbers Game

Schools around the country are continuing to find themselves in a pinch. I know of many locally that are in financial strife because of the underfunded NCLB act, among other reasons.

In Michigan, each school gets approximately $6700 per student for finances, and lesser amounts from other facets. Smaller schools obviously get less money from the State in total. Add to tha
t the fact that schools are having to give statewide tests and not being funded to prepare students for the tests! That leaves many schools in trouble financially.

Schools are battling for students, but every year it seems like all the schools locally are losing enrollment. Families are growing smaller, and they are moving to metropolitan areas, rather than staying in smaller rural areas where work is limited. A logical move, yes, but it's hurting many schools.

Because of declining enrollment, schools are facing
the inevitable- cutting costs. Every circumstance is different, and often times this turns into a very politcal matter. The truest way to handle this is to put the kids first and start from there. In my district this year they announced that they need to cut $320,000. This was surprising to most people, because we've been operating with a surplus for the past ten years. Often the first thing you see being done is teachers being pink slipped. This doesn't always mean that they'll lose their job, but it does mean that they might.

What can be done to solve the numbers game? Parents- have more kids! That's a pretty silly solution. But really, what can be done? There are committees set up to analyze this very situation. How can schools survive with low enrollment? Is it possible?

How can schools survive and meet the standards when the funds they receive to operate do not allow them to purchase new equipment, books, supplies?

Unfortunately in the past ten years we've seen
a nation where there was supposed to be a boom of teacher hirings, beginning when I began, developing into a nation where schools are simply removing the position. Instead of seeing many openings for teachers in the past ten years, I've seen positions being cut. A neighboring school shut its doors because it couldn't make ends meet. Another nearby school is going to four day school weeks to save money.

There is no easy solution to this problem, whi
ch is actually many problems. I do believe that there is money for funding schools out there. State governments need to decide how important education is to the future of this country.

Cutting jobs is also taking away the enthusism of brilliant teachers. They are leaving the profession and seeking jobs in careers that aren't being tampered with by outside forces. I know of handfuls of people who would have been wonderful leaders in classrooms that simply gave up and sought other work.

The game continues to go on, but many are deciding to stop playing!

6 Comments:

At 5:12 AM, Blogger Jon said...

First off don't blindly beleive in the nonsense being fed that it is all the fault of NCLB under funding, that is the just the excuse Public Education likes to say when our kids education is taking the backseat to other pet projects at the state level. If Michigan truly only spends 6,000.00 per student on education I am glad I left Michigan after high school and I am raising my kids in Oklahoma where the state spend 11,000.00 per student. Sounds to me like the state isn't telling the whole truth when it comes education funding. All I can say is that NCLB takes a beating because Democrats enjoy attacking President Bush with it every chance they get and the states just go along for the ride.

 
At 6:31 AM, Blogger Tachizuno said...

Jon, Thanks for the input... I suggest you read up on your facts on NCLB.

I'm not going to convince you any differently about anything. I can clearly see that by your last sentence.

No, schools aren't underfunded solely because of NCLB. I guess writing a whole blog about other reasons was overlooked? It's a $6 billion dollar reason though, nationally.

Thanks for visiting.

 
At 4:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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At 7:45 AM, Blogger Mama Mouse said...

I wish someone knew the answer but I think that it won't be coming anytime soon. What I know is that when I went to school I received a wonderful education at a private, parochial school. My husband went to the public school and his education and the school was comparable. We had the basics and we had approximately 50 students per teacher. Our schools weren't air conditioned ... instead we opened the windows to let the fresh air in on hot days.

What was different for me was that we didn't have gym or art or music classes. We didn't have a cafeteria and school supplied lunches ... instead we always brought our own. We did have a library, but it was small and we were encouraged to use the public library.

There WERE music lessons, but we paid for them separately. Bussing, for me, consisted of the public transportation system or my parents. OR my legs and it was nearly two miles to school. The teachers weren't overburdened by the number of students because the students were, for the most part, well behaved. There was rarely even whispering in class behind the teachers' backs.

Its a very different age now ... children have come to expect and demand a lot more as have their parents. The children have also become harder to handle because of a lack of discipline being taught in the home. And the attitude that the teacher must do it all is prevalent. T'wasn't so when I was a child. Its no wonder that teachers today often feel like they are paid too little for trying to do a job that IS too demanding. They can't be teachers AND parents to their students!

All this means more money needs to be spent to keep up with the times and demands of parents and when the money comes from the taxpayers they just don't want to spend more. They can't afford it now let alone after adding a couple of hundred dollars a year every other year due to millage increases. Its a no-win situation.

Like I said ... I wish SOMEONE had the answer.

 
At 2:20 PM, Blogger Benjamin Whelan said...

I'm just curious, what is your stance on the role of charter schools in all of this?
I believe much of what you said is true, but I also think that that is only part of the problem. Always interested in various opinions though!

 
At 12:39 AM, Blogger Tachizuno said...

Charter schools should get no money from the state.

 

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