Tuesday, April 21, 2009

the state we are in

Last night I sat at a table with legislative members from our state government. I was heartened about their positive support of public education. There are so many things to balance when we speak about the national and state budgets. Health care reform and education are two of the most critical in my opinion. The people that I spoke with undoubtedly had an audience of like minded individuals that they were speaking to. One person spoke about how just because we are in an economic crisis does not mean that the students can take a year or two off from funding schools until the economy turns around. Our children have once chance at this and to lose the skills necessary for our educational progress is foolish at best. This is the time that the government is called on the most- when the economy is in hardship. Hard decisions must be made about how to proceed in a way that will not jeopardize our future. Tough choices will need to be made.
On another note, in the very recent weeks I have noticed our students rising to the challenges that their teachers have put forth to them. We are holding them accountable, pressing them to learn more and not be distracted by the warm and changing weather. Here in the state of Wisconsin the start date of school is being dictated by the tourism industry. This is not in the best interest of the students. Instead, individual school districts need to decide what is best for their students. Some teachers, myself included would like to see an all year schedule and an elimination of our 10 week summer vacation. For a number of reasons this would be prudent. All of us need to have continuity in our lives. School for 9 weeks and then 3 weeks off would not disrupt the learning process to the same degree as a longer summer vacation does.

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