Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The "Future" Conundrum

Mom’s worry. Its in our nature. We want what’s best for our children and will do whatever it takes to make that happen.


Joey and I have been blessed with a VERY smart child. That’s not me being a proud mom. That’s the general consensus. He is very advanced for his age and quite honestly, it scare the living daylights out of me.


This child – who isn’t quite two, can open a door with keys – luckily he can’t reach the key hole. He has already memorized his favorite books and will read them. He knows how the childproof electrical outlets work. Can count to twenty. Knows his letters. Knows which words go with which letter and can spell the first part of his name.


He speaks in complete sentences.


I feel like I won’t be able to keep up with him. I’m actually wary about keeping him home with me during my maternity leave as I’m concerned I won’t be able to challenge him enough academically.


So when election day came around last month I made it a point to vote for a tax referendum that would have made sure our schools were getting enough money to operate. It came out to about an additional $75 a year on our property taxes. Well worth it when it comes to educating our youth – or so I thought. Apparently the rest of the county didn’t agree. The referendum failed to pass.


What does that mean?


The recap from our county says that due to the budget cuts the following will happen beginning with the 2013 school year –


1.    Projected minimum $25 million deficit for fiscal year 2013-14 is the equivalent loss of nearly 500 teachers.


o    Further reduction in the number of Advanced Placement high school classes


o    Further reduction in middle and high school elective classes, including the arts


o    Reduction/elimination of science fair, social studies fair, field studies/trips


o    Reduction of elementary music and art teachers resulting in these subjects being taught by the classroom teacher


o    Reduction/elimination of various instructional programs, including Project IBIS (environmental/science learning program) and AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination)


o    Reduction of school district salary payments for teachers to serve as directors for band and chorus, sponsors for clubs, coaches for athletics, and extra duties for supervision and security


o    Major reduction in the number of substitute teacher days allocated to each school that results in combining students into other classes and grouping students into gymnasiums and cafeterias when teachers are absent


o    Instructional materials provided as classroom sets, rather than for each individual student


3.    Loss of a high number of teaching positions that result in a further loss of student instructional programs and extra-curricular activities, including athletics. 

4.    Ability to meet Florida Statute class size requirement is highly unlikely with a reduction in the number of teachers, resulting in a financial penalty to the school district.


o    Significantly higher class sizes in middle and high school core academic classes and even higher class sizes in elective courses


6.    Other changes that will impact the instructional program at schools:


o    Increased number of combination multi-grade classes at every elementary school (example—combining grade 2 and 3 students into one class with one teacher)


o    Increased number of elementary schools that share a principal with another elementary school and further reduction of assistant principals at secondary schools.


Scary stuff, huh? Jellybean doesn’t begin school until 2016 but that doesn’t reassure me. That only means that the district will have been suffering for 3 years at that point. We picked our home because it was zoned for excellent schools. Now those schools are in jeopardy so we’re forced to think of the future and what we want to do.


We both attended public schools, myself through the university level and received excellent educations in the process. That was always my plan for my children too.  Until this happened.


So we’ve been talking a lot lately, neither one of us feels that public school will be a good fit for Jellybean with the current state of the system.


Our choices as we see them are –


Private School






Charter School


Or (and this is a long shot) my being able to get a job with the school system in the next county over – thus allowing our children to attend their schools. They happen to have a charter school for gifted children. That suggestion actually came from Jellybean’s day care – unsolicited by me. She thinks that’s where he needs to be by PreK.


Each area has its pros and cons. I know he would flourish in a Montessori environment but that doesn’t come cheaply. Most don’t accept or offer scholarship money either. There are some private schools in the area but just because you’re paying for it doesn’t mean the quality is better or even up to par. That’s a real problem for me. Homeschool is enticing but I don’t know if I’m cut out for it or if we could live on one budget. And the charter school depends on what our county has available at that time.


I know we have time to reach all these decisions and so many things can change between now and then but I’m a mom. I worry. . I never want to feel like I made the wrong decision when it comes to my child’s education.


This parenting thing….it comes with a huge burden of responsibility!


Linking up with Shell for Pour Your Heart Out!



Natalie said...

I've read a lot about Charter schools...and have been very impressed with how they have challenged children no matter what home environment or how much money their family has. I mean kids writing full sentences in kindergarten about plots in books! That's what we need...challenges for our kids...not dumbed down versions to make the school stats look better.

S.I.F. said...

That is terrifying, and absolutely baffling to me that people wouldn't care more about doing waht needs to be done to keep the school system up to par! I don't blame you for worrying, but I also know you will figure it out - I have no doubt!

Shell said...

Those are some AWFUL changes they are looking at making.

You have time to think about it, though! And remember that even if you make one decision about school, you can always change it!

Sorta Southern Single Mom said...

It always works out and when the time comes, you will know what's right. I teach in a school that makes my job so much harder for ME, but has my son in the Academically Gifted program full time and my daughter in band and choir. Would I be happier teaching in a suburban middle class school, YES! but they in are in a better spot now!

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