QUOTES & STORIES

BUDGET IMPACTS FOR OUR YOUNG KINDERGARTEN STUDENTS...
A Reading Kindergarten Teacher

Students are suffering and not getting what they need due to budget cuts or a lack of funding for programs, materials, etc. Teachers in this district are and have been overcompensating in every way for years to maintain service levels for current students. Reading is losing great teachers because we do not support our teachers the way we should. Personally, I am not the teacher I want to be for my students because of limitations caused by the budget. The budget impacts our kindergarten students in so many ways including academics and social/emotional through both direct and indirect means. Student’s growth is being limited and opportunities for differentiated learning and small group work are greatly reduced.

 

In general, over the past few years, it has been a constant battle just to get the resources and support we desperately need for our students! We fight for our students. We fight for support. We fight for materials. We fight our broken technology. We fight for the best use of our “meeting” time. It has been a constant battle and has been wearing down so many teachers. We are not able to use our energy to plan the best instruction for our growing learners….we use that energy to fight for what we should already have in place.

 

What if our paraeducators disappear?

If the override does not pass and paraeducator hours are reduced or cut, our youngest and most needy students will suffer. Here are some of the ways:

  • The workshop model for literacy (both reading and writing) and math will not be as effective. There will not be enough support to lead small groups which are proven to be effective at this age. There will be fewer opportunities for differentiation and ensuring each child gets the support they need and deserve. These foundational elements are so important and we cannot afford for our young learners to have gaps in their foundation….since those cracks will only get wider each year.

  • Actual (effective) teacher planning time will be reduced. Teachers will need to prepare more of the materials for lessons and not be able to use their planning time to plan differentiated lessons. In kindergarten there is an abundance of materials preparation that outsiders just do not understand. Fresh new materials are important to engage young learners and capture their interests.

  • Project work will be reduced and fewer hands-on craft activities (which are important in child development) will be possible since teachers will be doing the materials preparation now. Since kindergarten does not have art class as a special, classroom teachers are held accountable for integrating art projects. No paras to help with that preparation, no art projects.

  • Social/emotional opportunities will be decreased due to less adults in the room to interact with students.

 

What if our support staff disappears?

Currently, support staff (i.e. tutors) are being pulled to cover for other staff. Since we do not have enough substitute teachers to cover for planned and unplanned absences, tutors are being pulled from intervention and support times thus decreasing small group differentiated learning opportunities. Students who are in need of tier 2 support are no longer able to receive these services in class.

 

What if our curriculum materials are not updated or replenished?

Without appropriate curriculum materials, it is not possible to teach our students to fidelity using research-based programs like Fundations, Reader’s Workshop and Writer’s Workshop. Teachers are spending 100s and 100s of dollars on consumables and supplemental materials so they can offer the best possible learning environment for their learners. Program materials and the consumables they require are vital in every single grade.

 

Additional concerns….

Teachers are expected to learn most new programs and curriculum materials on their own time while simultaneously teaching their students that exact same material. This is an ineffective use of time and energy, is extremely short-sighted and does not provide thoughtful instruction for our learners.

 

Teachers spend an overabundance of their time “fighting” with technology from their computers and Smartboards to the copiers and laminators. Much valuable planning time is wasted troubleshooting technology. How is it possible to teach without proper materials or the ability to create materials (with broken copiers and non-functioning laminators)?

A Reading Kindergarten Teacher

Reading Public Schools

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