Budget cuts, expectations & the cost of a thank you
Education Awareness Day is today, February 25. In recognition, many staff will wear buttons that say “MORE 4 schools.” I am pleased that CCEA and CCSD support legislation to bring more funding to Southern Nevada. I say that because of all the challenges we face, none is more important.
When we look around in public education we see change everywhere we turn. Expectations are escalating. Standards are increasing. Tests are changing. Accountability is growing. Competition is mounting. Funds are shrinking. As a result, tensions rise.
It is little consolation that this is happening across the country.
Two weeks ago, the MetLife Survey of the American Teacher: Challenges for School Leadership was published. This is the 29th year that the results of this national survey have been released. Conducted in October and November 2012, it surveyed 1,000 teachers and 500 principals in the United States.
Teacher results reveal that:
- 56 percent said their budgets declined in the past year.
- 39 percent were “very satisfied” with the job; this is down from 62 percent who were “very satisfied” in 2008.
Principal results reveal that:
- 53 percent said their budgets declined in the past year.
- 59 percent were “very satisfied” with their job (is down from 76 percent who were “very satisfied” in 2008).
It is no consolation that the American Psychological Association says that among employed adults:
- 36 percent said they are stressed at work due to unrealistic expectations, heavy workload, low salary.
The Clark County School District is not immune to the pressure of economic downturn that has swept the country. Yet, in some ways we bring strain upon ourselves. For instance, emotions ratcheted up recently in response to public remarks made about some District reforms.
At moments like that, the question is, how do we respond? How do we stay mindful of what matters most?
Though we can be tempted to lash out at each other, the challenge is to keep our passions in check and rise above the fray so we stay focused on what’s most important. We have to be hard on the issues, but we need to be easy on each other.
It makes sense to come together because if our efforts this year achieve anything, it must be to use the legislative session to garner more resources for public education in Southern Nevada.
This brings me back to Education Awareness Day. With that day upon us, we have to take the time to recognize the contributions we all make to this work, work that is so difficult that it is only done well if it is done together. Let’s use Education Awareness Day to take a moment to do something that costs us nothing: Thank a fellow educator who has helped make this little corner of the world a bit better. Let me do that here.
Thank you for all that you do every day on behalf of our young people.