I have been doing my topic on education, and the effects of the constant budget cuts, and how they are affecting the students and staff. Before I started gathering any research, I had it in my head that the government was carelessly misspending the funds that were supposed to be set aside for our kids. I received some great feedback from my peer, and my professor that caused me to take a closer look into the problem, and to get some hard facts. At first, I was unsure of where to start, but decided to start with a personal discussion with three different teachers. I then went on to research specific issues, such as how the funding crisis has affected some students. According to the article www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/11/15/fed-up-with-their-kids-failing they have noticed that some of the student’s grades and effectiveness of learning has decreased. Class sizes are too big due to staff getting smaller, teaching to the test is becoming more common, which does not seem to be a “one size fits all” solution, thus causing increasing academic problems. www.oregonedorg/action-center/class-size discusses some of the problems that their classrooms are facing due to the overcrowding. Apparently Oregon has the third largest class sizes in the nation.
Fewer programs being available to the students also seem unfair. In several schools, programs such as p.e., art, music, foreign languages, and shop classes have been removed. Last year at Banks Elementary School, they were actually considering closing down the school library. Fortunately it hasn’t happened yet. So who is to blame for this increasing problem, and how can we overcome it?
While reading a short story by Arthur Waskow titled The Sukkah of Shalom, there was some parts of the story that caused me to re-think the severity of the budget crisis. I realize that is not the point of that story, but something in there caused me to connect the two. In our country, going to school seems like a right. In other countries, going to school might be a luxury or a privilege. We complain about needing newer materials, to where they might be sharing a shred of a book. Despite both situations, there are still those who choose to further their education and obtain a career. That causes me to question how much are we really struggling? Are we struggling or are we just spoiled?
My one on one interview’s with the three school teachers were my favorite source of information. Going directly to the source, and being able to ask follow up questions proved to be most useful to me. It’s not in my head that the increased class sizes are a problem. It’s not in my head that there are more students struggling to effectively learn the required materials due to decreased days in schools, and kids are getting bored with not having any type of extracurricular programs such as p.e., art, music, etc. The teacher’s also expressed great interested and appreciation in getting parents to volunteer their time to help out. I have found the time that I’ve been able to spend with the students has been very rewarding, and hopefully effective.
I do feel like I’ve found a pretty good variety of research to back up my topic, and I have learned a lot from it as well. I also plan on continuing to volunteer my time at the school, as long as the staff will have me. Oh and I also came up with a brilliant idea, and wrote to Ron Wyden at www.wyden.senate.gov/contact to present it. I don’t know if he’s the right person, or if he will even read it, but it seems like it could be a great solution to the cut out programs. So you know how nurses and Dr.’s do a portion of their college by hands on in person interaction as part of their hours? I proposed that music, art, language and fitness majors could sign up with the public schools to do three or six month contracts to teach the students the mentioned activities. It will be beneficial to both parties. The student will get hands on experience, and college credit, and the students will get those programs back. Best of all, it won’t cost the schools much to do this. Supplies could possible come from donations and fundraisers if needed. It seems like a very budget friendly solution, but statistically I don’t know if it’s a real possibility. I am hoping to get a reply from Ron, even if it’s a denial, maybe someday it can be a reality.
The Research Collection
- Danny Harris 5th grade teacher at Banks Elementary School
- Cindy Simonsen Kindergarten teacher at Banks Elementary School
- Christy Cabrera Beaverton School District. She divides her days between teaching at Beaverton, Aloha and Southridge High Schools.
The Impossible will take awhile (The Sukkah of Shalom) by Arthur Waskow
- www.blueoregon.com/2013/04/funding-crisis-oregons-schools-whos-blame by Kyle Curtis on April 22, 2013
- Theblaze.com/stories/2013/11/15/fed-up-with-their-kids-failingDave Urbanski November 11th, 2013
The Public Writing
Letter sent to Ron Wyden