Essentials for a good education?

Our town had a bond issue on yesterday’s ballot, for the second time this year. The bond was asking for millions of taxpayers’ dollars to build a new junior high school and it failed, for the second time in just a few months. I’m not going to pretend that I know all about it. I was not as informed on the issue as I should have been. I know there are probably details that I have no knowledge of.
In our district, the “Middle School” houses 5-7th graders, and the “Jr. High” (which is connected to the high school) is 8th. Of course, high school is 9-12th grades. There is absolutely no doubt about it, we need more space for our students. I graduated 10 years ago and the schools were way overcrowded then. I agree, we need more space.
However, our district has blown a lot of money in the last 10 years. They have built a new softball field, tore down and rebuilt a bus barn`, added more seating to our football stadium, added an “atrium” to the high school, bought every high school student their own laptop, added new signs in front of every single school, provided a smoothie bar in the cafeteria and a million dollar library in the high school, a new façade to “hide the air conditioning units,” which is already being removed, the list could go on and on…

Sure, these projects were funded by FEMA, grants or other government agencies, so essentially we do not notice the taxes that are paying for these. However, where exactly does FEMA get money? Where do grants actually come from?

I’m not a genius, but my gut is telling me that it comes out of my pocketbook.

My Facebook feed this morning was blowing up with people ranting about how poor of a community we live in. “Do people just not care about our kids’ education or future?”

Really? Is having a beautiful $25 million dollar school essential to educate our children? Maybe I’m naïve, or maybe I just see a bigger picture. Our kids’ future does not depend on how nice of a school they attended.

Of course, the more students in each classroom, the less quality of an education they receive. I get that. I get that it is hard for one teacher to teach 30 students at one time. Guess what. It’s not the end of the world.

The taxpayers have spoken (twice now) and they either do not trust the school board to spend their tax dollars properly or they simply cannot afford the extra taxes.

In a perfect world, we would have a beautiful school, equipped with state-of-the-art technology, healthy food choices in the cafeteria and plenty of room for outdoor classrooms. But guess what. This isn’t a perfect world and sometimes this world sucks.

If Tiffany was in charge of the school district, here’s a little run down of what would happen:
(Note* This is just the beginning. The “Teacher Section,” if you will…)

  • Teachers would be evaluated, not just by the superintendent who “checks in” once a quarter or by the principle, who has built friendships with some of the teachers. They would be evaluated by other teachers, the ones who see what the kids did and did not learn while in their class. (Second grade teachers would evaluate first grade teachers, etc.)
  • Parents would evaluate the teachers. Students would evaluate the teachers. Anyone who comes in contact with the teacher, on a regular basis, would get to evaluate them.
  • Because, let’s be honest, I don’t have time to have a “new” teacher that will learn as she goes. I don’t have time to say “She’ll do better next year.” Every single year that I send my kid to school, is precious time that needs to be used for learning. I have only 13 short school years and if my child ends up with a teacher who is still “trying her best” while not doing a good job, year after year, my kid is the one who ends up getting screwed out of a quality education.
  • Teachers would be the main focus of my review. What good is a million dollar library if no one shows the kids how to utilize it?
  • If you have insufficient test scores, you’re a goner.
  • If you have poor reviews, see ya later!
  • If you are not providing the very best education to the children, adios!

Maybe then, when teachers are in fear of losing their job, they would maybe give 110% and maybe we could provide the students with at least a decent education. That is, after all, what the public school is supposed to be for, right?

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