I've been thinking about Prop 100 a lot lately. With the election coming up on the 18th of May I find myself being torn by this one. As a former educator, having been raised by two educators who still teach and with a sister in education I feel I have some extensive background on education. I understand the importance of good teachers and the funding that is needed to make things happen, but here's where it gets hard for me. I don't believe raising taxes is the best way to fix problems. To me it is like giving a person a fish. It puts a bandade on the problem and doesn't truly fix it, whereas if you teach a person to fish you've taught them how to feed themselves for a lifetime. In my opinion, the government flat out needs to stop spending money they don't have. How many of us have had to live on a tight budget? How many of us have gone without because we didn't have the money. Why should it be any different with the government.
Now, with that out of the way, here's what I know is going to happen to teachers next year. This is for sure, even if Prop 100 passes. My dad is in for a 5% paycut and with him so close to retirement, that intern effects his retirement plan. However, if Prop 100 doesn't pass it will become an 8% paycut plus having to work for 3 or 4 days with no pay.
My mom, who teaches kindergarten for a different district, will have no aide in her classroom. That may not seem like a big deal to any of you who have never taught kindergarten, but let me tell you that if the government expects to increase class sizes--which it does--and take away the aides in kindergarten--which it does--it becomes near to impossible to teach 25-30 kindergarteners. It turns into strictly classroom management, i.e. keeping the kids from hurting each other. Teaching won't happen as well and all the testing and monitoring that is expected can't really happen without running the risk of kids hurting each other. Let me just say, you try to keep 25-30 5-year-olds occupied for the entire school day with no help.
I've been there. I taught a year without an aide and had 25 kids and let me just say how difficult it was. In order to get done what was expected of me, I had to basically get the class busy on a project, hope they stay on task while I tried to test one kid at a time. Not a pretty sight. Anyway, at the moment I can't remember for sure if there will be a paycut for my mom or not, but my money says that there is one coming. It's not a pretty sight.
The expectations for teachers will not change, yet their resources and their ability to do their job is being reduced. It's not fair to them and in turn not fair to the kids. We won't see the results of this immediately (other than those who are directly involved with education) but image ten years down the road when kids who's education has been taken from them because of what is happening in the government are expected to take over the very same government that did them no favors. It is really a sad scenerio.
For those reasons I will probably vote in favor of Prop 100 despite my reserve on how to fix budget problems. I know how it will effect my parents, students and the very future of our state and country. What a sad time it is when the first place people turn for budget cuts are education and public safety. That's another side I could get into because of the many neighbors I have in public safety, but I will save that for another time.
I would love to hear what you have to say about this. Here are informational links in favor of Prop 100 and against Prop 100.