Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Something is out of whack here

Something is VERY out of Whack

A teacher in Baltimore City middle school is trying to raise $450 for two new laptops for her class.  Given the cost for two of these devices, they are clearly not very powerful.  She has applied to a website, DonorsChoose.org in the hopes of securing the money.  The teacher was very fortunate because former Baltimore Raven football star, Torrey Smith had funded every request submitted by teachers on the east side of the City.  Carmelo Anthony a forward for the New York Knicks who graduated from Towson Catholic in Baltimore County, funded all the teacher requests from the west side of the City.  All told, these athletes donated $500,000 to help 720 teachers.  That is an average of just under $700 per teacher.  Don’t misunderstand me; these were very generous acts by these multi-millionaires.  Teachers received funds for school supplies, new classroom chairs, and some STEM themed learning activities.  The vast majority (94%) of the children who benefited qualifies for free or reduced priced lunches.
Teachers have noted that the City is cash strapped so it cannot afford these things for the children.   REALLY!
Is this the same school district that brags it is paying some teachers over $100,000 a year for a 187-day work year?  The rest of us work around 240 days a year, subtracting for a 2-week vacation and 14 paid holidays.  Yet teachers are going looking for basic supplies to teach their classes.  Teachers should be well paid for what they do but not at the expense of the children.  In the current budget process teachers are paid what the union has negotiated and the kids get what is left over.
We have school systems spending almost a million dollars on outside legal fees to keep kids from having an appropriate education outside the system.  School districts outfit athletic teams and maintain athletic fields but teachers need to beg for chairs that are not broken and school supplies?   What is wrong with this picture!

What is wrong is fairly simple.  Our priorities are flipped on their ears.  What would happen if we provided school supplies, instructional materials, technology and experiential learning based on kids' needs?  What would happen if we spruced up schools, painted them and cleaned them.  Then we looked at what was available for teachers.  Oh and while we are at it, can we make sure those folks receiving the 100K for their 187 day school year are actually earning that money.

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