This is just a quick note to vent some frustration regarding the state budget conversations going on all over the country. Teacher payroll is a huge part of the expenses in many states, and so it is natural to consider teacher layoffs as a solution (or part of a solution) to a budget crisis. I get that.
[climbing onto soapbox]
What I don’t understand is when politicians, pundits, and even the media report on “preserving teacher jobs” or “saving teacher positions” or “reducing the educator workforce” as though schools were corporations. This isn’t about jobs. I know that unemployment is high and many hard-working Americans can’t find work, but the potential that I may not have a job is not why laying off teachers is so bad.
Losing teachers isn’t like a corporation reducing its workforce. We can’t downsize our schools. We can’t reduce the number of “customers” that we serve. In fact, the numbers increase every minute of every day.
No, all that firing teachers achieves is increased class size. It takes the same number of students and divides them by fewer classes. Your children (or grandchildren) are packed into the same size classroom with the same single teacher who now must find a way to meet the individual needs of more students. The leaders of our future are given less opportunity for interaction and the education expert in the room is given less resources and time to spend with each child. The data is pretty clear: larger class sizes negatively impact learning.
Nobody wins when we cut teacher jobs.
[soapbox now vacant]