The number is huge: 23,000. That’s the number of pink slips that have gone out over the past week to public school teachers and certified employees across the state, due to some pretty savage education budget cuts. Districts had until Monday to issue notices to teachers, telling them they may not have jobs next year.
But behind that number are many individuals working in public schools in Walnut Creek and surrounding communities. These are individuals who have the potential to make a huge difference in the lives of our kids. We’ve all had the experience of our kids dealing with the “bad” teacher. More often, we’ve seen what happens to our kids’ confidence, learning, and enthusiasm for learning when they have a good teacher.
I’ve been hearing some pretty sad stories over the past few days. There is the husband and wife, who had some 10 years’ or more teaching experience between them, who lost their jobs last year in one East Bay district. They relocated this school year to another district. But because they didn’t have any kind of seniority with their new employer, they’re going through the pink slip blues for a second year in a row. They have two young kids.
I also heard about a popular shop teacher at a local high school who just received his pink slip. Sure, we live in an era that stresses high GPAs and SAT scores, especially in some of our more high-achieving school communities. I can see people making the argument that in tight budget times electives like shop should be low on the priority list. Better that shop classes get cut instead of AP math, right?
Not so fast.
The thing is, not all kids are Ivy League-bound or fit that super-achiever mold. Some kids have other talents. The sort of technical education that kids learn in shop can be very useful in life and in the ability to get out and earn a good leaving–and to be a productive member of our community. I’ve also heard that this particular teacher was very good at working with those kids who didn’t feel like they quite fit in. His class was giving these kids good reason to stay in school, feel good about themselves, and accomplish things.
I’m sure you’ve heard some bad news about a favorite teacher who may not have a job next year–and you’re not happy about it.
Feel free to share, but don’t post the teacher’s name, or mention anything that would too easily identify them, as I understand not all teachers want this news broadcast. On the other hand, if the news is general knowledge … Use your best judgment. Also fee free to privately e-mail me the name and school of the teacher. I could follow up and see if that teacher would be interesting in sharing his or her story with Crazy readers.