Holding On to What We Have

As educators, we bear the brunt of our underfunded schools, and there’s no way to stay on top of everything we need or want to do for our students. Despite our skills and training, our work is routinely compromised by limited resources.

The recent “snowtastrophes” really demonstrate just how emaciated our school budgets are. We already suffer from a school year so short that we are clamoring to find ways to make up instructional time for our students. And now the District has sacrificed our professional development, time we need to collaborate with colleagues, sharpen our practice, and really foster safe and inclusive environments in our schools.

Another example of this occurred on Friday when we lost another day due to freezing rain. Losing a planning day is tough, and it’s one more example of educators coming together to do the best they can, in less than ideal circumstances.

Many of you were concerned, rightfully so, about the message to “work from home.” One kindergarten teacher put it this way:

We lost access to resources (library, colleagues, copier…) needed for planning. We had 5 fewer days to complete our student assessments. We’re already stretched so thin. Anytime people are overworked and stressed and you take what little they have, there is bound to be some panic.

Our system is incredibly stressed, and the initial budget proposals coming out of Salem will only lead to more cuts. We know what happens when we’re pushed to do more with less; without adequate planning, professional development, and instructional time we all suffer.

That’s why we need to fight for a no-cuts budget in the legislature this year, and I encourage you to join us at either the OEA Lobby Day or at the Ways and Means hearings and make your voice heard (read more below). We need to ensure every legislator understands the impact these budget proposals will have.

Thank you again for everything you do. You’re the reason our schools are wonderful, welcoming places for our students, even when we aren’t given the time and resources we need.