Tuesday, April 1, 2008

maybe one day, one of my/our students

will thank me/us as eloquently as this young person has thanked their teachers (some of whom may be my old cali colleagues!).

appreciation never gets old, and i, for one, prefer it out of the mouths of the children than from anywhere else. read afika khan:

Thank you, teachers

An L.A. Unified grad gives some gratitude during a hard time for schools.
By Afika Khan
April 1, 2008
After reading "With jobs on the line, teachers explore their options," regarding layoff notices teachers are receiving, I wanted to say thank you to teachers who have stayed in the educational system, however bad it may be.

Your resilience is very impressive to say the least. Year after year, you get thrown around because of budget cuts in the education system. Budget cuts have encroached on every aspect of your careers. Thoughts of simply surrendering to this supposedly admirable governor and getting a job that is less agonizing must have crossed your minds, but you persist and remain dedicated to public schools. On behalf of myself and probably all the students whose minds you have nourished with hopes of a successful future, thank you.

I wish thanking you was enough. This year will be especially hard on you. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger expects to cut billions of dollars out of the education system in California. There are prospects of teachers getting laid off. However, the Los Angeles Unified School District has decided not to lay off any teachers. A burden of insecurity has been removed from these teachers' backs, but an even larger one has replaced it: dealing with larger classroom sizes, inadequate school supplies and even salary cuts.

You teachers have developed a hard shell because of these inconveniences. As the governor keeps taking money away from the system every year, your shell grows thicker. It is not right that you to have to conform to such intolerable measures. Managing such inconsistencies and frustrations is a noble and honorable act in itself.

Having grown up in the L.A. Unified system from kindergarten through my senior year in high school, I remember seeing countless teachers exhausted and frustrated. However, when it was time to teach, they came in the classroom with conviction and amazing strength. I could tell they loved their work, but it was as if they were fighting a war that they were too drained to fight. Thank you for not giving up. I would not be at a four-year university were it not for your dedication.

We cannot keep treating teachers this way. California has one of the largest economies in the world, yet it ends up being one of the worst states in education funding. According to Education Weekly, our school finance is worse than that of Louisiana, even after Hurricane Katrina. It is ironic that although the governor could risk his life to save a class of kindergartners in a movie, when it comes to real life, he is hurting kindergartners by continually neglecting the teachers who help them learn and develop. Someone needs to tell him to stop terminating teachers and fix this problem.

In May, the governor might make revisions to the budget plan. To save schools from budget cuts, the state could increase taxes on cigarettes and alcohol, or on sales of concert tickets, CDs and DVDs. He can even tax the distribution of candy. Maybe then he can redeem himself at the "May revise" and start saying he "will revise."

I do not know when Schwarzenegger is going to realize that investing in teachers and the education system would be most beneficial for California. If he does not do it soon, the education system could very well start to crumble, and there will be even more instability than there is now. Such deterioration could lead to a ripple effect in the economy. Without knowledgeable teachers guiding society, the very ideals of democracy could be jeopardized.

So I thank teachers for having the strength and patience to continue teaching.

Afika Khan, a USC sophomore studying political science and international relations, attended schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District for 13 years.

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