Voters should consider seriously the consequences of voting "no" to Proposition 30 or 38, ballot measures which would raise taxes in order to raise revenue for schools. People get tax fatigue easily, especially when the economy is not doing well. So it’s natural for voters to oppose anything that impacts their wallets. However, as a 24-year veteran educator, I can vouch for the serious economic state our schools are in.
Since 85 percent of a district’s expenditures go to paying for personnel, the only way to make effective cuts in a school district budget is to cut school days. Already, many districts in California have eliminated days, the 180-day school calendar no longer sacrosanct. Students attending Glendale schools have been fortunate to attend a full school year so far. However, if neither proposition passes, that will change. The 180-day calendar may decrease to a 160-day one. That’s one month less of schooling.
As a breadwinner for my family, I’m not looking forward to having my salary and benefits cut.
As a teacher, I cringe at imagining what lessons I would no longer teach.
And, if you are a parent, you may have to look into paying for additional child care.
Such a loss of instructional time would translate, in my teaching, to one great American novel not studied or one less student newspaper issue published. Students would still graduate, but with less knowledge and experience.
A teacher can’t teach math formulas or lead science labs when school is not in session. When you eliminate face-to-face time between teacher and pupil, you eliminate learning.
Jettisoning instructional days may save money, but at a great cost to school children.
BRIAN CROSBY is a teacher in the Glendale Unified School District and the author of "Smart Kids, Bad Schools and The $100,000 Teacher." He can be reached at brian-crosby.com