So. Big to-do in Oklahoma these days over re-electing our current state superintendent–and there are volumes of books that should be published on why this shouldn’t happen in the coming months. The latest article I’ve read speaks to me, even though I’m no educator or politician: Caution: Zombie Idea Ahead! by a man named Rob Miller. Now, I haven’t read anything else that this guy has written so if he’s a Nazi terrorist that eats endangered animals for breakfast and torches nursing homes in his spare time, please forgive me.
Here’s what gets me: The current head honcho plans to pay teachers more from existing money. For the life of me I don’t know how this is legitimately possible (other than firing other teachers and giving bonuses to the remaining ones, increasing class size, and/or getting rid of other valuable programs that our children benefit from.)
I look at it this way: I have been buying groceries for my family on roughly the same budget we set in 2005. $400 for five people plus a couple large dogs, per month, used to go a lot farther than it does these days. A few scenarios have played out over the years:
- We all eat less food which is not cool for the kids but awesome for me because I lose weight but that’s beside the point.
- We buy more food with the existing money, but we have to forgo the fresh fruits and veggies in favor of bulk crap.
- We go over budget.
If the cost of living has gone up and groceries cost at least 30% more than they did several years ago, I can imagine that education costs–teacher salaries, textbooks, etc.–have gone up as well. Schools need more money–it’s just a fact. Only, Oklahoma schools have gotten less funding over the years. How did that happen?
I don’t know how this problem can be solved. I don’t think paying less teachers to teach more kids is the way to go. (The class size is bigger than it needs to be as it stands now.) I don’t think paying less money to current teachers is the way to go. (I quit being a teacher just thinking about it–and I’m not even a teacher.) And going over budget? Traditionally not a good idea. (Because of massive husband freak-out mode, which I avoid at all costs.)
So far, the lady currently in charge is just not cutting it, for a ridiculously high number of reasons. I do have the common sense enough to know that when one person doesn’t seem to be making any headway on a problem (or is, in fact, making the opposite of headway), then it’s time to let someone else take a crack at it.
Early leaders of our country must have thought with similar logic–thank goodness for term limits and elections.
And if you think school superintendent elections have no bearing on you because you don’t have kids in school, think again. These teachers in these classrooms with these students are pretty much where it’s at when it comes to the future of our country. They need all the support and encouragement they can get.