Wednesday, March 23, 2011

FloShap Slaps Non-Teacher Education Positions

At a press conference this morning, (the 21 minute video can be found here) State Senators Florence Shapiro and Dan Patrick led a senatorial chorus that echoed what is starting to become a snowballing movement. With limited funds for education – the State Senate is toying with a 5% cut across the board in education – they are all urging that any layoffs that take place in education first take place outside of the classroom. Lay off the non-teaching positions first they all said.

Gee you don’t say.

Florence Shapiro said these things:
“Local school district officials are in the process of making some very difficult and very painful budget decisions. Leadership is about making choices. We strongly urge them not to be short-sighted by sacrificing the classroom in favor of bureaucratic education establishment. As an example the Legislative Budget Board has provided us a document that indicates that non-teaching salaries in the state of Texas exceeds $9 billion. That’s not in the classroom that’s outside of the classroom. If we merely cut 10% of those non-classroom positions we would nearly create savings of almost $2 billion in a biennium. That’s real savings back at the local level. Protecting the classroom is much more than just a slogan. . . .While cuts are unavoidable, protecting the classroom is our number one priority.”
This has been a bone of contention among educators - the ones in the classroom that is. You hurt education first when you cut teaching staff. They are the ones producing the product: educated people.

So if there are to be riffing, what these senators are saying is let’s start in administration and staff support. Let’s start with curriculum specialists and administrators who don’t teach a single soul but end up adding to the burdens of those who do. Let’s start with the people who have made it their personal business to stay gainfully employed in education, but have striven to avoid, at all costs, being a classroom teacher.

Those are powerful ideas. Trouble is, the ones who make the decisions are so distantly removed from the classroom, and come into contact with these very classroom-avoiding people every single day, it is human nature to preserve yourself and your associates first.

Those were fine and noble words to come out of these conservative senators, but unless they build the idea of prioritizing funds for the classroom first and foremost into the budget bill, I am afraid that local school districts will undertake “the painful chore” of layoffs for teachers at the expense of educating our school children rather than look at their own classroom-avoiding number.

1 comment:

Greg said...

Bravo on this one -- we both know exactly which positions in our respective districts need to go, and which ones should be preserved.

Even campus administration is bloated. A friend of mine in another district notes that when he started teaching on his campus 15 years ago, the school had one principal and three assistant principals for 1300 kids. Today the school has one principal, one associate principal, one curriculum assistant principal, one special programs assistant principal, and five discipline assistant principals and a student body of 1800. Only a 50% increase in students -- but a 100% increase in administrators. He also comments that 15 years ago he was always able to get an assistant principal when he needed one to assist with a situation, but that today, despite the disproportionate increase, he can never find one available.