Monday, December 8, 2008

Grumpy, frustrated and downright mad

I'm not naive. I know that in a troubled economy people have to go without. I worked in government long enough to know that no matter how good a program is, if it's expensive and doesn't have a powerful advocate, it will get chopped. I know all this.

But now our school's calendar is on the chopping block and I am so grumpy, frustrated and downright mad. If you read my blog you know I work at a school where we are in session 11 months a year. During those 11 months we have 3 breaks called Intersessions. These Intersessions are optional for teachers to teach and students to attend, but most do and most do. Teachers get paid extra (always nice) and students receive remediation and enrichment courses. It's like an academic camp. It's awesome. I always taught the Intersessions and while my husband enjoyed the extra income coming in, I liked the new and changed atmosphere. Week long author studies, healthy eating classes, edible math -- to name a few of my favorites. Then when I became pregnant I used those breaks as needed breaks. I stayed home, slept a lot, planned for the next quarter and recharged. And yes, all of this costs money.

Outside of the Intersessions, our kiddos need this calendar. Our kids don't go to summer camp or on summer vacations when school is out. Many of them stay home, unsupervised, watching TV and losing all that they learned that year. They don't speak English, they lose that precious vocabulary they learned, they forget their reading strategies, and they forget about school. The unlucky ones are home all day to witness a tense household struggling in a faltering economy. Abuse happens. Neglect happens.

But when it comes down to it, regardless of the benefits for the kids, running a school 11 months out of the year costs money and there is little money to go around right now.

I don't like to oversimplify and play the victim, but our school is largely a bunch of poor kids whose parents don't have the time, the resources, the language, or the know-how to fight for them. Affluent and better-off parents from affluent and better-off neighborhoods are busy fighting their own fights for programs they don't want to lose. Why would they waste their time on a small number of schools full of kids they don't know? It's just not fair.

I would hate to be our superintendent right now, I know he's being pulled in a million directions and it unlikely able to make anyone happy, but right now it's about me and our kids, and I'm mad.

I am hoping that somehow, in the end of this mess, that we survive. Cross your fingers for us.

1 comment:

Erindy said...

aw this sucks. But you should send this to the op-ed section of the papers.