It’s been a few weeks… A BUSY few weeks if you saw my last post. They were all fun and good times. I had a blast with our field days at school, going to my sister’s college graduation, going to the wedding of two friends, heading to Maryland for the Odyssey of the Mind World Finals, Spring Celebration yesterday.
I was blindsided by one thing. About two weeks ago I found out from a fellow elementary Spanish teacher that our program as on the chopping block. Now, two years ago we were told we would be going down to one contact per week with our students. We had been seeing them two times a week. Bringing us down to one contact a week brought us down in the number of teachers we had for elementary Spanish. There are about 27 of us now. Last year I was wondering what would happen with cuts being made but was grateful to not have any reason to worry. This year I hadn’t really thought about it and then things started to heat up in about March in the NC Senate and House. I’m INCREDIBLY grateful to not be in the CMS district because I guarantee I’d be dealing with the question of a job almost every year. I’m so thankful for being in a school system like UCPS and under Dr. Davis.
When it comes to our Senate and House though…wow am I embarrassed. I just don’t even know what to say about the cuts they say they want to make and then also try to claim that it will fix our school system and won’t impact teachers or students. When were we broken? North Carolina has come a long way, but we still have improvements to be made and CUTS won’t bring improvements.
I know what is going on in UCPS is not the fault of Dr. Davis. He’s just having to deal with the ridiculous mess the NC Senate and their budget is giving him. I do not blame him one bit. I also completely understand where he is coming from when he says they may cut our program in order to keep class sizes down for the next school year. If they lose as many teacher assistants as it seems they will, they have GOT TO keep class sizes down in order to maintain some level of excellence in the classroom. UCPS is a GREAT school system and I would hate to see students and teachers lose that because our Senate is proposing a preposterous budget. I am a little concerned about the lack of communication regarding the possibility of cutting our program – this was sudden for us. No prior knowledge until 2 weeks ago.
While I understand Dr. Davis’ position on this (since cutting our program would mean 1 more regular classroom teacher per elementary school) I am also saddened by the fact that it would mean the loss of a program that had a huge impact on my life. I’m a product of the elementary Spanish program in UCPS! I remember having Spanish when I was in kindergarten at Unionville! Now here I am years later teaching Spanish where I was first exposed to it. I would hope (and want to believe the best in Dr. Davis – he’s never given me reason not to) that if the program is cut that it would be a goal of his to one day have it return in the future though it will probably be several years down the road with the economy and budgets as they are right now. We have a meeting with him on Monday so we will see what questions we will have answered. He has said he will do his best to try to find us positions but they may not be able to do so for everyone.
Right now I can’t believe the peace I’ve had about all of this. If this were any other year I would probably be flipping out. I can only say that God’s given me joy, freedom and peace in knowing that He is in control. I have had several people tell me they can’t believe how calm I am about this because typically…I’d probably be worrying about everything with all of this uncertainty. I can only pray this peace and joy continue. The great thing is that even when I THINK I’m going to get worked up about it, I don’t even get close. That’s huge. My plan at the moment is to wait for our meeting on Monday, get some questions answered then go into our meeting with the Board of Education on Tuesday and see what happens. We’re not going to let them walk all over us, but we are going to defend the program to the Board of Ed while remaining calm and professional. Other than that…depending on how things work out, I’ll look at private or Christian schools (I know I would likely be dealing with this same issue about having a job or not for the next few years until things stabilize again – Do I really want to deal with this each year?) or a non-profit organization. We’ll see.
In the meantime, check out this video of the State Board of Education. Glad to see they are speaking out against the Senate budget and speaking up for public education, students and teachers. http://www.wral.com/news/education/video/9675830/#/vid9675830