Why Teachers Strike

Teachers are suffering in PA.  Governor Corbett has crippled their ability to even get by in the classroom.  PA teachers are buying their own paper for class; really? The state cannot afford to outfit its schools with paper?

According to the Pennsylvania State Education Association website, last year the governor cut $860 million dollars from the state education budget; this year he aims to cut $100 million more. (Please visit the website for a full explanation of intended cuts and great graphics):

http://www.psea.org/apps/budget/budgetimpact.aspx

One of my friends from Pittsburgh describes the dire straits in her district now.  Two weeks into the school year, the district cut several first grade teachers, art and music teachers and computer classes.  Two weeks into the school year, children had to be reshuffled into overcrowded classrooms. After budget cuts have restricted gifted, as well as special education teachers, this is her day, now, everyday:

I am overwhelmed. 156 students. 6 classes, a duty, and a mandatory tutoring session, 3 grade levels - grades 6,7, and 8. I have to get up at 3:00 o'clock in the morning to keep up on my grading, creating lessons, differentiating instruction for all of the special education children in my classes (one class of 34 students has 10 special ed kids) and I have to create 17 special projects for the gifted kids in all three grade levels. Prepping for my World Geography, World History, and American History classes takes an extraordinary amount of time as it is. Student Council meetings are held during my lunch breaks .... I've been cutting pink ribbons (for Pink Day Celebration) while acting out The French and Indian War in class. AND NOW I FIND OUT THEY added THE TOUGHEST 10 seventh graders to my reading Intervention period in the morning which was my only small "class" of ten gifted sixth graders. Help! Does this sound normal? Teacher friends out there.....have you ever had a schedule like this?????? I can't keep up with this pace at my age. Honestly, I think the stress, lack of sleep, anxiety, lack of lunch, and lack of free time is going to kill me.

This woman is not whining.  She is a shining example of a dedicated professional.  In all of her 19 years of teaching in the Pittsbugh public school district, this is her first instance of complaining about the working conditions.  Ordinarily, she will roll with the punches and make her situation work.  She is passionate and optimistic, a creative educator, whom her students adore.

Teachers go on strike because the government creates hostile working conditions, and forces teachers to perform miracles under impossible conditions.  What other professional must work like this, yet expect to churn out superior products? At the end of this school year, Governor Corbett expects these students to pass, if not excel on, state standards. 

Can you imagine if the teachers' jobs in Pittsburgh were dependant on the performance of their students on standardized tests?  No wonder teachers go on strike.  How can students possibly learn in these conditions? Teachers perform miracles every day under the best conditions; when have we gone too far in what we ask of our teachers? Here. This is too far.

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