Thursday, March 3, 2011

Budget Cuts

So I'm a teacher. For those of you who don't know it, I am. I love my job. I love my kids. It is the best profession in the world, as far as I'm concerned, to be a teacher. I enjoy going to work every day not knowing what the day will bring. What light bulb will go off today? Who will FINALLY get that word they couldn't get before? What will they discover as we go through our science experiment? All of these questions are things I wonder about my day-every day-because each one is so different.

This summer I was lucky enough to be a part of the Minnesota Writing Project. Involved in this was going to a summer institute for three weeks and learning from other teachers. Isn't that the best way to learn? From others that have the love for something (like writing) just like you do? It was great. Fantastic! Just such an experience unlike anything I've ever had. Well, don't get your hopes up people, because guess what. Things just changed for the MWP and the NWP (National Writing Project). President Obama signed a bill yesterday that cuts funding for the NWP. Not only that, but it cut funding for Reading Is Fundamental, the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, and Teach for America as well. What happens next? I don't think anyone knows, but when 4 billion dollars is cut and there are programs like this that are impacted, things don't look good.

As teachers we are always encouraged to do our best. Be our best. Try our best. Do whatever we can to better ourselves and our career. Learn more. Do more. Sometimes I wonder, "How?" Well, when things like this are not supported, its hard to do all of those things. I also think about how it seems that, lately, that there is such a focus on writing; kids aren't prepared enough for college writing; they need more of a variety with writing, etc. With the MWP and conversations had with people through their events, these things can happen. Ideas are bounced around and collaboration takes place. But on a day like today, I feel like we're deflated, depleted of those moments in time and those conversations with the MWP people and consultants. It goes back to that "Now what?" question. That's about where I'm at. Now what?


  1. I too feel a bit confused, uncertain, scared and yet hopeful that since we are such a strong organization, we will continue to persevere in lieu of the funding situation.

    As part of this slice of life community, I'm not sure if everyone is a writing project person or not, but having lived, eaten, and breathed writing project for the past 6 years, I can't imagine my life (teaching or otherwise) without it.

    Don't lose hope...:)

  2. I am a teacher in year 32. I have learned over those years that when one door shuts another one opens. Be patient. Things will turn around. In the meantime...sights like TWT are very beneficial and help keep a community of writers writing and talking about writing.

  3. As a teacher, I feel your pain. My job is potentially on the line with budget cuts this year; it's a very tough place to be. I try to be optimistic. Most days.