Monday, February 25, 2013

Unfunded Mandates.

The State Legislature loves giving educators more and more to do.  Every time they meet we sigh a collective sigh and contemplate what new thing they are going to dump on us.  90% of the time without relieving us of something we are already doing so that we have the time for the new stuff.

More often than not, these mandates come without any funding to pay for them, we’re supposed to squeeze it out of our 51st-in-the-nation per pupil funding.

This year there are a couple things that I actually support, except for their being unfunded.

The first one will require school districts to hold yearly seminars for parents on bullying, substance abuse, mental health and internet safety.  If it weren’t for the fact that funding for these seminars will be coming out of my classroom, I’d be all for it.

They are also voting on a bill to put caps on K-3 classrooms.  It would mandate that kindergarten classes could be no bigger than 20 students, 1st & 2nd grade at 22 and 3rd grade classes would stop at 24.  Wonderful idea, one I have been argued is the #1 issue in education for years.  The problem is that the bill includes no extra money.  Zip.  Zero. Nada. Ziltch. Niente.

This means class sizes in the upper grades are going to have to get bigger.  Having 34 kids in an Algebra class will be a thing of the past.  42, which I’ve had before, will be the new norm.  An article on reports Logan High School already having 50+ students in their English classes.

You up on the hill:  The rubber band  is already stretched to the max, the camel’s back is cracking and the balloon is pushing it’s outer limits.  Something’s gonna blow, and it ain’t gonna be pretty.

But hey, we got $500 million to move the Utah State Prison so some developers (aka: friends & legislators) can make a bundle building houses at the Point of the Mountain.

1 comment:

Lisa Shafer said...

The beatings will continue until morale improves.
But, Max, it's been this way for DECADES. It's unlikely to change.
My choir teacher in high school (later a Utah teacher of the year) had a motto up in her room:
We, the willing, led by the unknowing, are doing the impossible for the ungrateful. We have done so much with so little for so long that we are now fully qualified to do anything with nothing.
And that was 1983. Three decades. No changes.