Friday, June 14, 2013

Allentown Teacher Describes Real Consequences of Teacher Cuts

ASD teacher Deb Brobst with her students in DC, 2010
 Terrific Allen High School social studies teacher Deb Brobst posted a comment at this blog, and I think it deserves attention. Congratulations to Deb on her retirement, and thank you Deb for your years of service, and efforts to improve the ASD. Deb has been a tireless advocate for students, frequently speaking at school board meetings and rallies.

"ASD has closed its eyes to the destruction of the public school education that it is supposed to protect. The public does not understand the true repercussions that have been caused in the daily life of an Allentown public school student. With the cut of 25% of the teachers in ASD in the past 3 years, much of the curriculum has gone by the wayside. Students in the high schools have to take the 4 core subjects of English, Math, Science and Social Studies (only 3 years). Most of the electives are gone. No more Law Academy, No more Science and Fitness Academy and now, no Dance Academy. Without the electives, many students have no way to explore a subject that interests them more fully: the law science, physical science, artistic expression and so many other interests that could be stimulated with a complete curriculum. Instead we will have a "minimal" curriculum. One that does not stretch the imagination, call for higher thinking, asks the great questions, teaches to fix the ills of society. There is no outlet for the curiosity and creativity of the mind without the course choices previously offered in abundance. 

ASD has been "bare bones" for the last 3 years. Now, it will be at the marrow. The last 3 years have seen a 25% reduction in faculty with only a 4% decrease in student population. The District has seen no such decrease in administrators, rather an increase. I am wondering, who will teach the kids? Certainly not an administrator, since their eyes have been closed for too many years to the actual day to day life of the public school student. I am also wondering, how will students in overcrowded classrooms (do the math) be able to learn? It will certainly be harder. Harder to hear the teacher, harder to see the board, harder to ask a question, harder to have one on one time with a teacher. I am also left to wonder one last thing: how is a teacher to get through the curriculum of a course with 6 weeks taken out for Standardized Testing? Why are we paying for PSSA Tests, at all? 4-Sights and Keystones all take a toll on curriculum requirements. Will this mean that a teacher cuts into the required information for the course year, or does that mean the course gets watered down by the District in order to justify constant standardized testing? 

No matter which way you slice it, ASD is just about dead. The cuts that started 3 years ago and continued this year are not done, yet. Stick around. It will get worse!"

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