Friday, February 25, 2011

Budget Woes

So, even though school have been in a “budgeting crisis” for some time now, the bomb was dropped on us officially last week…Keller ISD is in a 38 million dollar hole. This is after we made almost $10 million in cuts last year. Your first thought is probably Keller ISD needs a lesson in finance management, but no, this is a statewide problem. The entire state of Texas is in a crisis and all districts are feeling the pinch. Forget the fact that we are one of the Top 40 most efficient districts in the state, that doesn’t get us a break.

Step one- cut $16 million. Easy right? Ha. This means cutting sports budgets, operating budgets, technology budgets, activity budgets, transportation budgets, pretty much everything. And we better hope nothing in the building breaks, leaks, expires, etc, because it’s not being replaced. OK, totally do-able, no problem, we can all cut back, we’ll make it work.

Step two- TRE election- Tax Rollback Election. This is where we need help. If we do have this election, everyone in Keller needs to go out and VOTE! If this passes, it could save a lot of headache in the long run. While it won’t solve all problems, it will be a step in the right direction. Even people who don’t have children in Keller schools, we need you to vote.

If the vote doesn’t pass, we are REALLY in trouble. This is when jobs get cut. If you think education is in trouble now, you have no idea what will happen if we have to cut jobs. We aren’t just cutting elective teachers, core classes will be cut too. This means instead of having 25-30 kids in a class, we will have 30+ students in each English, Math, Science and History class. You may not think those numbers are that high, but from experience, trying to teach writing to 27 7th graders is nearly impossible. When it takes an average of 10-12 minutes to grade a two page essay, multiply that by 27 (that’s 270 minutes, 4 ½ hours for you non-math people), then factor in the 5-7 minutes you have to meet with each kid to discuss that essay (that’s another 3 hours) . Well over 7 hours on ONE writing assignment. All this so we can teach 7th graders how to compose proper, complete sentences. This is just writing, don’t forget ELA teachers have to teach reading, too! Classroom management is going to go right out the window. With more students and less teachers, more kids are going to “slip through the cracks”. No Child Left Behind, right, that’s a joke! More children will be “left behind” because we have to follow a set curriculum and cover specific topics by certain dates. “Sorry kid, you don’t understand how to change a decimal into a fraction, oh well, we have to move on…the district only gave me 4 days to cover this and I have 34 other kids in the class I have to keep quiet and in their seats, I don’t have the time to re-teach it.”

Hey, state of Texas, you want to help out the budget, how about we spend LESS money “testing” our students and more time actually TEACHING our students. To do that more effectively, we need MORE teachers, BETTER resources, SMALLER classes.

This is going to be a scary few years in education unless some drastic changes are made. Eventually, we are going to have to decide that the education of students comes before superintendent’s housing allotments, car allotments, cell phone allotments. Until things like that happen, the teachers and kids will suffer the most.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

To Do Lists

Everyone has their little "quirk" of my many is making "To Do Lists". I have note pads stashed in every drawer of my house and in my classroom. Notebooks, scrap pieces of paper, computer, iPhone notes, all house my to do lists. Part of my obsession is that I won't remember to do all the things on my list if I don't write them down; the other part is the pure satisfaction of crossing things OFF my "To Do Lists". I do all the work of writing out my extensive lists, just to cross things off!

As soon as I finish a task that I know is on my list, the first thing I want to do is cross it off of my list. I know I've had a productive day when I have crossed off EVERYTHING on my list and nothing is left for the next day! When I leave something on my list, it has to go on the top of the next day's list and I don't feel right until I get those things accomplished.

Sometimes I get too overzealous with lists and put waaaayyyyyy too many items on the list. Between teaching two subjects that are so totally different, coaching, going to grad school, trying to have something of a social life, and trying to sleep every night, sometimes I just can't get everything accomplished and I am trying to learn to deal with that fact. It's not always easy, and sometimes I can be really hard on myself when I don't cross off all items on my list. I have to learn that it is ok to not do it all, to not be it all, and that's a hard lesson to learn. I've always been the girl who can pull anything off and can make everything "look" easy, even when it's not...

So with all this being said...I've crossed off everything on my lists for the past two days and I already have my list started for next week! Of course I have two of them made up, a personal one and a work one, plus I have my study calendar. Hopefully staying organized over these next three weeks will get me through to spring break when the only thing on my list will be to lie on the beach and soak up some sun!


Thursday, February 17, 2011


So here is my first attempt at blogging...however pathetic it may be!
I figured I would jump on the bandwagon with everyone else and begin to document my crazy, hectic life.

My current worries:
TAKS testing- they are hard core about it this year, even though it's being replaced with yet another test that the kids don't care about.
Budget cuts at work- I'm fairly certain I'm safe, but we might lose some amazing teachers and keep some not so great ones. It just doesn't seem right.
Masters class- while I've done well in all my classes thus far, this last class is going to kick my butt! It's very intensive, very time consuming and very stressful. I can only hope I make it out with my GPA still intact. Today alone, I spent about 3 hours working on testing assignments and don't feel like I accomplished 3hours of work...the good news is, vie found the light at the end of the tunnel is getting bigger and brighter! Come May (hopefully) I will be finished! With all the above mentioned budget cuts, it will be nice to have options.
Sleep deprivation- what I will have if I don't go to bed soon...yes, it's only 9:50, I'm ok with it...