This season on Real Time with Bill Maher, there was a stupidest state contest. No matter how hard California tried, we did not make the top ten, with Arizona ultimately winning the title. I’m very disappointed in this because we are a stupid, stupid state. Maybe not stupid enough to win, but stupid nonetheless.
As you all most likely know California is in a dire budget crisis. With the budget due today, we have already made $64+ billion in cuts and are still short by over $20 billion. Who knows what will happen today, and most likely the budget will not be balanced any time soon.
As a teacher, I am seeing the budget crises from one point of view. It is true, education takes up a very large portion of the state’s budget, rightly so, but the cuts to education have been so deep and we continue to get cut which is ludicrous.
This past week, the stupidity of our state hit home with something more personal than the abstract problems that we usually hear about.
Back in 2007, my school district applied for a very large state grant in order to research and put into place a promising practice for English language learners. Seven other teachers and I have been working on a very exciting way of teaching that our district greatly supports. We received the grant, to begin in the 2007-08 school year. We didn’t get off to a great start as the money that was supposed to be sent to the schools for that school year actually didn’t arrive until the 2008/09 school year. So basically the large sum of money that was supposed to be used over 3 years, was now required to be spent over 2 years. But hey, we took what we could get.
For the last 2 years the 8 of us have been working our butts of to get our promising practice up and running and supporting teachers with their progress. It was a great experience and the progress we saw was incredible. The grant was very worthwhile to us.
The second part of the grant was the research part. California hired an outside research company to study our test scores and the progress we made over the
3 years, or rather 2 years, of the grant. Earlier this year the researchers visited us and were quite impressed with what we had done. It was all very exciting. It was quite apparent that these teaching strategies are very effective and so much different than teaching to the test. Those of us involved in the grant really felt that maybe this was the evolution in education that we have been waiting for since G.W. enacted “No Child Left Behind”.
This week we found out we were wrong. Our asst. superintendent of curriculum, the district person we had been working with, received the following letter cancelling the research.
That’s right, the research piece of the grant was cancelled. CANCELLED!!!! After 3, I mean 2, years and millions of dollars sent to schools to see what kinds of innovative ideas were actually making a difference, it was cancelled, basically just tossed aside. It is so disappointing and a perfect example of California being so stupid.
California spends so much money on text books and curriculum that is just ridiculous, and districts are required to spend it. Then here we are, using money for something truly valuable and we end up with no accountability for that money or information from it. What a waste! This kind of thing is so disheartening.
But on top of that, it is stupid. We throw money around for this and that without any accountability and then wonder why we are broke. There are a lot of good things about California, but often its decisions are just stupid. How were we not in the top 10?