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Sunday, April 22, 2007

Gulp

Theme: Steps

I know it's another bad photo. I'm afraid of heights or falling or both. The ony way I could take the picture was to stretch my arm and camera out over the well and blind snap. Even looking at the pic makes me tremble. This is in the newly restored mill at the Tracy Aviary in Liberty Park, Salt Lake City. What a wonderful place!

I hate being obvious. When I read the theme "Steps" I was working on a perfect esoteric example.

My school district is in crisis. For years the Board of Trustees has been supporting small schools out of teacher salaries. (We have twice as many schools as our next door neighbor district which has exactly the same number of students and income) . With the continual increases in health care premiums (yeah, crummy health benefits, too) our teachers, who are already earning $1000 per month less than any other teacher in our county, are paying out $1000 per month to insure their families. Maybe it wouldn't hurt so badly if we were a poor community, but we're one of the richest in the state. I have celebrity children, who live in lovely huge homes, in my classes every year. Many of our teachers can't afford to live here and now can't afford the gasoline to commute.

We thought our Board was finally seeing the light. For months they have been moving toward consolidating six of the smaller schools into three in order to improve teacher compensation. Then, last week they discussed rescinding all their work and putting the decision off for a year. What pantywaists! I suppose small schools are nice. I wouldn't know; I've always taught in large schools. It must be nice to only have 22 kids in a class instead of my 35 (times five since I teach middle school). But is it fair that I should have to pay for that other school's small class out of my salary? And what's particularly galling is that those small schools have lower test scores than the larger schools, so it's not like they're doing a better job!

Anyway, "steps." My job yesterday was to make up the steps for teacher protest. Rallies, buttons, picketing, letters, meetings, petitions, strikes... what a physical and emotional drain.

And the beat goes on...

2 comments:

Samantha said...

it is so frustrating to hear about the problems facing our teachers. I send wishes for the best of luck in your protest steps!

meeyauw said...

I was lucky to be able to move away from that type of madness. Our classes here are considered crowded if they hit 18-20. At 22 they are usually split in half. Of course we have other problems that I never forsaw. It's a good thing I love this job (probably you do, too)!