Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Wisconsin public school districts lost more than 2,300 position in the current school, according to this morning's Wisconsin Stat Journal. Almost 3/4ths of school districts reduced staff -- and about half reported growing student enrollment.

In my district -- Madison Metropolitan -- staff was increased to accommodate a new 4-year-old kindergarten program. That didn't stop the student-teacher ratio increased from 14.33 to 14.66, the highest level in 9 years.

Gov. Scott Walker maintains that the staff cuts are reflect "flexibility" granted by the removal of collective bargaining rights.

The rest of us call them what they are: staff cuts and reduced services to children.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Desperate Measures in Texas

This morning's New York Times reports that school districts in Texas are "Making Do on a Shoestring" (p. A10). The central Texas district of Dripping Springs cut back its custodial staff, leaving teachers to sweep and clean their rooms every other day. Is that time supposed to come out of their instructional time? Or are they supposed to do it without pay?

Texas schools cut 25,286 positions from the previous year (2010-2011) through retirements, resignations and layoffs. Of those, 10,717 were teaching positions, according to data analyzed by Children at Risk, a nonprofit advocacy group in Houston.

"It's almost like slow death," said Douglas Killian, superintendent of the Hutto district.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Racial Inequality Increases

The median wealth of Hispanic households dropped by 66% between 2005 and 2009, compared to 16 percent for white households,  according to this morning's New York Times.

The page one story, using information from a Pew Foundation study, also reported that median wealth of blacks fell by 53 percent and that of  Asians fell by 54 percent.

"Median wealth of whites in now 20 times that of black households and 18 times that of Hispanic households..." the story by reporter Saabrina Tavernise stated.