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Budget cuts impact classroom instruction
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A Teacher's Perspective 

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.

 

 

Sincerely,

 

 

Jeff Bracken

Chemistry Teacher

Westerville North High School

Westerville Voters On Target for Education