“You are hereby notified, pursuant to Education Code sections 44949 and 44955 that it is recommended that you not be reemployed by the Berkeley Unified School District for the 2009-2010 school year. …it was determined to be necessary to reduce the number of full time equivalent certificated employees of the District at the close of the current 2008-2009 year because of the discontinuance or reduction of certain kinds of services.”
So went the letter I received from Clifford M. Wong, Interim Assistant Superintendent, Human Resources, that laid out my potential future at BAM. I’m going to step down from my normal blog roll and step up onto the virtual soapbox for just a moment and offer a brief analysis of the situation at hand from my point of view.
I think we would all agree that times are tough. The recession has undoubtedly knocked on the doors of many of our families, friends, and neighbors. If you don’t know someone yet who has lost a job, a house, benefits, or hours, it is purely a matter of time until you will. I could exhale you with a vitriolic cascade of blame; of frustration with economists, bankers, irresponsible lenders, and consumers, but in the end the problem is much too big, and the moment is much too urgent to play that game. The reality is that costs are up, spending is down, and the scrambling of the federal government to plug the hole in the dike, while offering some immediate potential, is not going to fix the entirety of the root of the problems that brought us here. Nonetheless, we are at a critical juncture in the midst of this downward spiral, at a point where we must grit and bare our teeth at the challenge that comes when we are called upon, as citizens of a democracy, to firmly draw the line in the sand. Spending must be cut, this is true, but I hope you stand with me when I say this is not the place. If we allow our state’s imprudent and downright intolerable cuts of 11 billion dollars off the education budget, if we allow our local district to eliminate over 100 positions as they have outlined in their latest resolution, then we have no one to blame but ourselves when see the decline of our children’s or our neighbors’ children’s education. This is not a battle about me, I am far too small a piece of this puzzle. There is a good chance that I wont have a job teaching at Berkeley next year, but your child will still have a teacher. That position may likely be filled by a higher seniority teacher on special assignment who currently helps develop curriculum or offers special interventions to struggling students. At what cost will these layoffs come to? More demands and less support will ultimately be placed on already overworked classroom teachers struggling to service every child with an outstanding educational experience. What special programs and supports will be cut, to what numbers will class sizes be raised? Where and when do we put our feet down and say, no! I value education, and I will not stand idly by to watch the children lose out yet again! The trend of education cuts seems to be neverending, and year after year I wonder how they must yet again be cut. I implore you to take a moment to contact your school board members and your legislators and demand that the sanctity of education must be respected. Our childrens’ future depends on it.
If you agree with putting a stop to education cuts and teacher lay-offs, I encourage you and your children to show support by wearing pink tomorrow and marching on down to the BUSD Admin Building on MLK at 3:40 with the teachers.
- Language Arts: Vocabulary definitions, sentences, and word search worksheet. Study for vocabulary test tomorrow: fracture, eject, projectile, omit, trajectory, infraction, flexible, mission
- Mathematics: Review study guide to prepare for a quiz. Make practice problems for each focus area.
- Bring back signed reading logs and homework logs
- Bring a bag lunch for the field trip tomorrow to see Ladysmith Black Mambazzo at Zellerbach hall. There are several spots still open for chapperones, so if you would like to come, just send me an email.