I’ve avoided writing on the topic of the Education Budget simply because I feel most of my thoughts and opinions are biased, and based on emotion rather than facts, but in this month of TAKS Testing where conversations of Accountability surface seemingly every ten minutes, my emotions are driving my actions more and more.
And right now, emotions are high. Sky High.
Over the last month we’ve witnessed school administrators forced to make some difficult decisions because of the State Legislator’s priorities. In watching the dominoes fall in this chain reaction of school budget casualties, it’s hard to comprehend the basis for this crisis. It’s hard to understand why these decisions are being considered, let alone put into practice. What is the big picture solution? What is the end goal? These decisions are going to affect students daily, monthly, and ultimately yearly, and yet, we will still be held accountable to a standard of Exemplary.
People in my little corner of the world refer to gaps in a student’s learning as “holes in their boats, ” and I like the imagery. To me, it makes sense to build a vessel, one with a sturdy bottom and strong walls to take on the Education Ride. Building that boat is easier said than done, and imagine what it feels like to paddle along as your boat fills with water. Imagine the problem solving skills you might try to achieve just to survive. Forget about paddling forward, you’ve got to start scooping that water out, and there you are, not moving downstream–simply stuck in the middle of the lake. A very big lake.
That’s how some of our students feel. To putty those holes takes tutoring, strategy, and special programs. Most of all, it takes time. And, that time takes money–money that is now slipping through our fingers.
It scares me to see the road ahead. It saddens me to watch those boats struggle in the middle of the lake, unprepared for the ride. In my own Pollyanna style, I still have hope things will turn around by July. I believe the Legislature will see the potential disasters ahead, and things will simmer down as we get back to business. But, these stuffy weeks of Testing highlight the stress put on kids, teachers and schools as they desperately look to bigger and better solutions for those holes, leaving emotions raw and everyone exhausted.
Despite all of this, I still have hope it will all work out in the end, and somehow all the boats ride off into the sunset…safe and secure. Pollyanna wins with me. Every Time.
I think it’s just part of the job.