turtle burden

Carry Your Part or Get Out of the Way!

Donnie Dicus Uncategorized

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There is a crisis brewing in Arizona. And budgets are being cut to drastic levels. I have been teaching in Arizona for ten years. I haven’t seen a budget increase in 7 years. For seven years budgets have already been cut or have barely maintained previous year’s levels. However, class sizes have grown while positions are being eliminated. Costs for nearly everything have increased. Thus, schools have to pay more with a lot less.

To handle all of the cuts, schools are starting to get creative. There isn’t much fat or extraneous positions left to eliminate. Every possible way to save money has already been put into practice. To survive, schools have to think outside of the box. Many schools have begun considering 4 day weeks or have already chosen to implement 4 day weeks for the next school year. After reading comment threads on various social mediums, I can tell people are about to lose their minds over this.

There is not a lot of research done on four day weeks so I am not sure that this will be good or bad for students. One big argument that keeps coming up with the four day week is about what to do with the kids on the fifth day. Many parents are concerned about the extra cost for child care. This is a big deal for many families who are already struggling to make ends meet. I genuinely feel bad for these families but this is a mess that we have all created. It’s too bad that people are finally realizing that these budget cuts can cause a burden on them. It is great to have so many families speaking up and out now. Where were these voices and opinions during elections?

Public education is a civic responsibility. We all have to work together to carry this burden and make it successful. Part of that burden requires us to speak our mind with our votes. It also requires us to be knowledgeable about what we are voting on and how it actually impacts us. Many overrides did not pass this year because citizens did not bother to understand what they were voting against if they even voted at all. Now the time has come. We did not bother to learn about how to vote. We did not bother to educate others about the implications of their vote. Now parents are going to have to be bothered. They could end up having to carry the burden of child care on the fifth day. This situation has showed me that if we do not carry the burden now, we will carry it later. There is no getting around that. Families, if you do not want more drastic measures to happen, get involved. Speak up. Learn about the elections. Advocate for your child. Things could change much more drastically than a four day week

Complaining about the four day week now is a little too late. It’s spilled milk at this point. Hearing people fume about it now makes me angry. How do we turn these angry Facebookers and Twittees into knowledgeable voters and citizens who are brave and willing to stand up for education in Arizona? How can we change a culture of reacting against negative changes into a culture of creating positive changes?


Donnie Dicus

Tucson, Arizona

My name is Donnie Dicus and I have been teaching in Arizona for 12 years. I came to Arizona from Southern Illinois to attend the University of Arizona in Tucson. I graduated in 2003 and began teaching second grade. I taught second grade in Tucson for 8 years before moving to Phoenix. I now teach third grade. I achieved National Board Certification in 2012 and I received my Master's Degree from Grand Canyon University in 2015. I achieved a National Board Certificate in Middle Childhood Generalist in 2012. I’ve been teaching mainstream and SEI 3rd grade classrooms in the Cartwright School District in Phoenix since 2013. I taught 2nd grade and was a math interventionist in Tucson in the Amphitheater School District. I’ve been a technology coach and have helped teachers apply technology to improve instruction. I facilitate coaching cohorts for teachers going through the National Board process and organize peer groups at my site to pair new teachers with experienced teachers. In 2010 I was nominated as a Rodel Semi-Finalist for Exemplary teaching in 2010 and featured as a Teacher Leader in February 2016 by the Arizona K12 Center. I have class pictures of every single student I have taught behind my desk on my wall. After 12 years, that is approximately 350 students. My students know that this is my Wall of Accomplishments. I am so proud of the difference I made in their lives. I became a teacher to make a difference and I strive to do so every day.

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Comments 3

  1. Sandy Merz

    Yes, how do we do we answer your last two questions? I always picture in my head a 2 x 2 grid that’s has the rows labeled “allies” and “adversaries” and the columns labeled “informed” and “uninformed.” (And uninformed allies do as much damage to a cause as anyone.” Your post makes think of two thoughts from other people. My friend Bill Ivey says that extremists on either side of an issue tend to overstate their cause and misrepresent their opponents. The victims are those who lean one way or the other but are sensitive to nuance and context and are willing to learn from and compromise with their adversaries. (Bill’s pretty smart, huh?”) Donna Brazille, a major player in the National Democratic Party says, “It’s not what they call you, but what you answer to.” I wrote a Digressive Discourse blog about a museum I dreamed about that relates to your thinking here. It’s at http://ow.ly/KpdLx

  2. Christine Porter Marsh

    Well said. Theses days, my favorite cliche/quote is “Elections have consequences.” People are feeling the pain of the last election. Will they feel it enough to take action for the next election?…I hope so. Those of us who are aware–and who were aware before the pain got so bad–need to subtly keep reminding others of the need to get involved (or at least VOTE).

  3. Sandy Merz

    One more thing, Donnie, I’ve been hearing a lot about schools trying different schedules – for pedagical reasons as well as finances. It’s a little of your subject – but one is for teachers to report at different times but work the same number of hours. For example, maybe half the staff reports at 8 and works until 3, the other at 9 and works until 4. But all the kids are in school from 8 – 4. So kids are getting more learning time without extending teachers loads.

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