To the Editor:
Having been a science teacher for the past ten years at Westerville North
High School, I would like to share my perspective on how the recent budget cuts
have made an impact on classroom instruction.
Cuts were felt by teachers last May with reduced staffing for the current school
year. Classes are typically loaded with 30 students. Its difficult to personalize instruction when there are so many students inside the classroom. The effect of class size on science instruction is tremendous. Simply
put, there are certain experiments that cannot be conducted safely in such a crowded classroom.
Cuts to the guidance counselors extended contracts made a huge impact on the
start of the school year. Students often needed to wait for days before they
could meet with counselors to add or drop courses. Schedule changes were still
being made well into the second week of classes. What do you say to a student
who has missed the first five days of a double-blocked course?
Remedial science courses, specifically designed to help students to pass the
science proficiency test, have been eliminated. Unfortunately, these weaker students
have been left to fend for themselves. They can take more regular science courses,
but no single science course teaches all of the outcomes that will be assessed on the state's proficiency test.
Professional development for teachers has been significantly reduced. I cannot provide a world-class education to my students unless I keep abreast of the
latest advances in educational practices. I can stay current with several educational
journals, but nothing is more effective than interacting with this country's best chemistry teachers at national conferences. If we want our students to receive the best education, we need to make sure teachers
are not operating in isolation inside their classrooms.
Make no mistake about it, I'm proud to be a teacher in the Westerville City
Schools. I don't want our community to settle for a basic education as some would
suggest. Please support the levy on Nov. 4.