Thursday, December 02, 2010

Why Education is Poised on the Brink of Disaster and No One Cares

It’s all here at FortBendNow. Fort Bend ISD, a local school district held a workshop meeting this week in which the discussion was going to be based on redrawing school zone boundaries to meet the fluctuations in school populations.

Parents were arrayed all over the board room sporting printed T-Shirts that they had paid to put forth their own agendas.

“FBISD Don’t Divide New Territory,” read one. Yet another pleaded with the board to “Keep Sienna Together.” New residents in the Telfair community sported T-shirts that said, alternately,“Don’t Divide Telfair” and “Choose Telfair High School Number 12.” Yet another wore the shirt that asked them to“Be Fair To Chelsea Harbor.”

School boundary lines, it seems, evokes strong feelings among the parents in the community.

Board President Sonal Bhuchar, seeing the array of beshirted people decided to try and let them know what it is that they were concerned with, as opposed to what the parents seemed mightily concerned with: the budget.

From FortBendNow:
“Before we open up discussion, I want to take two minutes to explain what I think the board understands very well, but to explain to the community the framework within which we are trying to work. Rezoning is a very, very difficult situation – always stuck between a rock and a hard place. As we go into this I want to make sure all in this room know we are not drawing arbitrary lines. As a board I want to remind everybody that we are working with a very severe budget crisis.”

She went on to make the projection that state funding coming to Fort Bend ISD, according to one projection, could fall by $26 million each year. This is if education cuts face the same chopping block as other areas of the state budget.

Now this school district has been running a deficit for three years, and has recently laid off 463 teachers in order to avoid a 21 million dollar shortfall. Since the school district is already running lean, it is difficult to see where other cuts could be made. Another reduction in force is inevitable it seems.

But parents are not very concerned with that. Not as much as they are concerned with their children getting to go to the school of their choosing.

They don’t realize, it seems, that it’s not the school building that delivers the education, it is, however educators that do that job.

This is why education is doomed for a pasting in the next couple of years. Parents, that is, taxpayers haven’t yet gotten the fact that if they don’t step up and take up the slack that the state seems to be willing to extend to local districts, their schools, and the education of their children, will suffer.

Most telling is a remark by the district superintendent. The district, ironically, has funds to build more schools. They just don’t have any money to operate them (for that, read pay teachers).

And as long as parents are more concerned with what school their children attend than they are about the actual education that they receive, education faces looming disaster.

1 comment:

Denise said...

Parents are concerned.... but re-zoning some students will cost more money to the School District AND the tax payers. If FBISD better allocated their funds, perhaps blaming the State wouldn't be something they did as often. Yes, tightening their belt means cutting from the top down (Admin, not teachers) and not wasting money on buildings and science centers we simply don't need.