Here’s an excerpt from a press release from the recent survey conducted by Texas American Federation of Teachers (AFT), Texas AFT Survey Shows Destructive Budget Cuts Hitting Students and Teachers Hard.
A recent Texas AFT web survey of more than 3,500 teachers, school employees and parents reveals the extent to which our schools are experiencing widespread layoffs, cuts to key programs and services, larger class sizes, and stressful conditions for teaching and learning—all related to the $5.4 billion in state budget cuts enacted this year. [Emphasis added]
In addition to quantifying some of the impacts, teachers and other school employees consistently commented on significantly lower morale from lack of resources to teach schoolchildren, and from longer work hours, more duties, increased paperwork, bullying by administrators, reduced planning time and lack of learning materials and supplies.
“The numbers reported for layoffs and larger class sizes confirm the direct impact on classroom instruction,” said Linda Bridges, Texas AFT president. “Our teachers are doing their best to mitigate the damage of these cuts, but it’s disturbing to hear comments on how much less time they have—both in giving students the personal attention they need to succeed and in preparing for their classes, grading papers and trying to meet the expectations for achievement on the more rigorous STAAR exam this spring. It’s as if the state gave schools a higher bar to hurdle this year, then dug a deep ditch in front of it.”
The Texas GOP’s education cuts are working as designed. Here’s another report from the Public News Service, Survey: Texas Teacher Morale Plummeting.
A majority of state legislators this past session were determined to balance the budget with a cuts-only approach, saying services could be adequately maintained without new revenues. [President of Texas AFT Linda] Bridges says the impact of that decision is now being felt in all education areas.
“Art and music, early childhood, P.E. and athletics – cut. Also foreign language. And increases in class size, across the board, from elementary to secondary.”
She says teachers are facing added pressure preparing students for a new, more rigorous, statewide test to be launched next spring. Lawmakers mandated the STAAR exam at the worst possible time, she adds.
We need new legislators so we can fix our fiscal and education problems in 2013.