I’ve included a link to the email string here (best read from the bottom up). Please note, as you read through the brief email exchange, my comments were highlighted in red by the teacher who forwarded the email to the entire staff. I can only assume it was done so in order to draw the reader’s attention to the statement. Some readers thought I had bold/highlighted the statement in red in my original email, making it appear even more inflammatory – and thus, email fails to communicate, again.
I feel it is important to share this email with readers of my blog – those inside the educational profession as well as those outside of the profession – to illustrate the magnitude of the debate at hand.
To expand on the five day proposal – legislators are being presented with few options concerning the education budget. One is to reduce the number of days in the school year (these days were added in 2008 with no additional funding). Another is to increase the classroom divisor, resulting in larger student to teacher ratio. This option potentially reduces the number of teachers employed in some systems. Neither option is ideal for our education professionals or our children.
However, reducing the number of school days keeps everyone working and keeps class room size where it is now – that is why I supported this option in SB51 when it was voted on in the Education Policy Committee on March 24th. I’ve never been a fan of increasing class sizes as it makes for a challenging learning environment on children and teachers; a lose-lose scenario. However, as I hear from teachers that do not support the reduction in the school year, I'm beginning to question that position.
The declining revenue in our state, compounded by increased job losses in the private sector (over 400 contractors, government support jobs in Huntsville announced last week that will likely trickle down into other private sectors) continue to make our budget decisions in Montgomery challenging. We continue to look to other options for the education budgets such as ensuring large corporations doing business in Alabama are paying their fair share of taxes owed. I continue to find it interesting that this issue has suddenly become the battle cry of some parties during this session – obviously this concern did not suddenly appear after the November election.