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?