Looming layoffs leave teachers’ job status in limbo

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By Leah Frost / Staff Writer

By Leah Frost / Staff Writer

The educational system in the United States has become a battle of politics rather than harnessing the responsibility to actually educate.

Reflections of how the public school systems are failing in the United States are in the statistics through several ranking systems on the level of reading, math and science the children in the US average.

Comparison of nearly 40 developed countries since 2010 across the globe, the US is never ranked higher then 25th on the list showing the lack of expected educational performance within the school in America.

There are incredible schools. There are amazing teachers, mentors and instructors. As with anything else in life, with the good comes the bad. As the ugliness of the educational system is further revealed the higher the political walls rise to keep public knowledge to a minimal.

It is inevitable that politics will be a part of the educational system. Every presidential election, the promise to better the education in this country is a major platform for the candidates.

There are programs developed such as the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 that are aimed towards enhancing students’ chances to succeed in their educational career.

Education has become a tangled web of not just teachers and students. Mix in the politics, declining economy, budget cut backs, failing schools and the teachers unions.

Now the web has become an obstacle that will take more than political promises to break free from, it will take complete change on how public schools are ran.

For teachers and students, a glimpse of light at the end of the tunnel is dwindling and solutions are few and far between.  

There are conflicting agendas on the standards that education should be held to when federal regulations, state regulations and those policies placed by individual school districts are not in sync.

With the decline in the economy one of the struggles the powers that be face is the allocation of funds within both the states and each individual school district.

In the end, the greater financial struggles that loom over the schools, the farther the educational system plummets into a pattern of less education at a greater cost.

The cost of the future of teachers and students and what may become of the US in the future without properly educated children to take off from school and fly into their paths in the real world.  

Providence, Rhode Island has become the model of aggressive action within the educational system.

Mayor Taveras and the Providence School Board are attempting to maneuver through the web of obstacles that is looming over the district by boldly passing out nearly 2,000 dismissal notices within the Providence school district.

Although the 2,000 teachers are not likely to lose their positions within the district, a deadline of March 1 has been made by the state to notify teachers if there is a possibility that their position may not be available in the coming school year.

Since the city is overwhelmed with vast budgetary issues not only within the schools but throughout the entire city, there are decisions that are in the process of being made on whether schools will be closed and teachers will be laid off.

Once the budgets have been finalized, the final number of teachers that will ultimately be laid off will come to light.

Until then, the teachers have been warned.

It’s almost like playing craps, the dice can land anywhere and the teachers are just waiting around to see if they are going to get to stay in the game.

Measures that have taken place in Providence are extreme to say the least, but the reality is that these headlines are going to hit more than 45 states within the country in the next year.

Reports from the grass roots organization, StudentsFirst.org, over 160,000 teachers are expected to be laid off in the next year due to the economy and budgetary cut backs.

A campaign has been initiated by StudentsFirst.org to help fight for those educators that are truly effective in their field.

Normally a majority of the states follow the rule of thumb LIFO also known as last in, first out when it comes to laying off teachers. The newest teachers are the first on the chopping block.

What is not made common knowledge is the reason for this policy is that due to the union involvement, most teachers earn tenure after only two years of teaching, therefore making it increasingly harder to let a teacher go without a fight.

This time around, seniority is not going to help save jobs. Being the most outstanding teacher may not even save a job.

This hot topic in the headlines has failed to address what the residual effects will be for the children.

Where do they go from here?

Drop out rates are increasing as reading and math levels continue to decline. In direct correlation to the lack of education and failures to finish school the rate of inmates across the country continues to rise.

There seems to be little hope for the future.  

It is projected by the year 2020, that there will be roughly 120 million careers that will need to be filled by well educated individuals, and that by that point in time possibly 5 million individuals will actually be educated enough to take place in these high ranking career paths

It seems like a merry-go-round. On one hand teachers are needed to keep education alive in order for the next generation to keep the country and careers alive and kicking.

Then there’s have the budget crisis and the already lacking systems within the schools.

So where is the start and where is the end? How does a country so full of wealth and knowledge get on a track to future success without further sacrificing those that can help the children grow, and without breaking the spirit and hopes of children completely?

A moment of silence is needed, an outcry of frustration is needed, parent and student involvement is needed, to ensure that time will be left to turn this battle around, to turn the future of the generation’s education into something other than a headline of distress.

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