Reading, writing, and furloughs

Rick Ryckeley's picture

This one is for all you teachers and administrators out there who can’t write this article, but wish that you could. Our beloved governor, Sonny Perdue, in all of his infinite wisdom has suddenly discovered that there’s a budget shortfall in our state. Like every household in Georgia, our coffers are now empty. It seems Georgia is projected to be over $900 million short, and something drastic must be done.

After thinking long and hard about how to rid the books of all that red ink, a solution was finally reached. Could it be that wasteful spending will now be a thing of the past? Ineffective and outdated programs discontinued? The unfunded national and state educational mandates that drain resources now gone? Nope. None of these were the answer. The governor thought to himself, “I know, let’s pick on the teachers.”

I’m sure if you ask administrators of the 180 school districts what should’ve been done to balance the state’s budget, cutting teacher’s pay would be at the bottom of the list. They’d say that to make already over-loaded teachers do even more with less would be utterly ridiculous. The three furlough days that were just cut from the calendar are teacher WORK days, not teacher play days.

With seven additional furlough days being considered, how can teachers be properly prepared for the entire school year? They’re supposed to somehow push the thoughts of pay cuts out of their minds and trudge ever forward. On the first day of school they will face classrooms with ever increasing numbers of students and be held accountable for every failing test grade. The teachers I know will just suck it up and somehow deal with it. They’re professionals, after all.

This year in many school systems, new textbooks and resources like maps will be a thing of the past. Besides, as long as the students can locate the closest coffee shop, do they really need map skills? Maps or no maps, at the end of school testing, teachers will be held accountable for student’s performance.

It’s no secret: I’m a firefighter and The Wife’s in education. For 13 years she was a teacher before moving up into an administrative position. Before it even starts, administrators are facing the same furloughs as teachers. There’re a lot of things that happen on teacher workdays that help teachers better educate our children throughout the school year. Somehow those things must still occur. Believe me, the stress of the furlough days is already being felt.

Normal retirement for a teacher is 30 years. Any teacher who can withstand the constraints placed upon them by politicians and the rigors of the classroom deserves not only a pension, but the Medal of Valor. Some of the things we did to Old Mrs. Crabtree and Math Teacher Myers were unbelievable. I could tell you, but I don’t think the statute of limitations has run out yet.

The logic behind the decision to balance the state’s budget on the backs of our already overworked teachers simply eludes me as it should any rational person. It makes as much sense as furloughing police officers two days a week, but still holding them accountable as the crime rate skyrockets.

Then again, we’re talking politics. No one said there are rational or intelligent people holding political office. They just happen to get more votes than the person who came in second.

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Submitted by Bonkers on Sat, 08/01/2009 - 6:12am.

I agree with you that it should be helpful for teachers to have three work days when there is no school. In this day and time it doesn't work to ask them to come in on Saturday or stay after school, or come back, for such training. Not even the bosses want to work!

However There is no sense in the teachers and administrators suddenly NOT working on those three days! It is needed.
Better sense would be to simply reduce their pay by three days from their salary, then they work the three days and due to the salary reduction, are paid for the three days! It costs the same and the work gets done.
What is wrong with that? (except of course they lose 3 days pay either way)

Is there some kind of rule that says any salary reducion means that time must be taken off?

I realize that you, being a fireman, are also paid by taxes. But I don't think your pay has been cut, just not many raises recently except by promotion---which we may have done too much of. Only so many bosses are needed.
I have always been a proponent of paying the privates more regularly instead of promoting everyone to get more money for them.

The US army currently has a sergeant for nearly every private! Also, there is an officer for every 2-3 enlisted.

It concerns me to see school administrators, or any government employee, and teachers, threatening poor performance due to reduced pay, or even fewer teachers.

In general industry, where taxes do not pay the salaries, one quits and moves somewhere else for a better job.
That doesn't always mean that quality of supervision or work is less.

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