State teachers union spokesman Rich Wood sent this in response to a press conference called today to urge passage of House Bill 2261, the basic education finance task force bill.
Teachers, the professional educators who work with students, are focused on the impact the Legislature’s huge budget cuts will have on our state’s students and the education they receive. HB 2261 may allow adults outside the classroom to think they’re doing something good for kids, but they’re ignoring the immediate and real problem. There’s no money.
$1.5 billion in K-12 education cuts are going to have a devastating impact on our students and classrooms. Trying to change teacher certification and evaluation or implementing a new school accountability system totally misses the mark. It suggests that TEACHERS are the problem, rather than the huge budget cuts. That’s an insult.
We’re losing thousands of teaching positions and students will be in overcrowded classrooms this fall. Meanwhile, the Legislature is poised to spend $3 million on work groups to study teacher certification? And teachers are supposed to accept promises that someday down the road the state might actually fulfill its constitutional obligation to fully fund education? We’ve heard enough promises.
That’s why teachers and other education staffers oppose these bills. Today, the Legislature introduced bills that wipe out the voter-approved initiatives for smaller class sizes and school employee compensation. If we care what the voters think, then the Legislature should be finding ways to protect those investments instead of spending money on work groups. We urge the Senate to defeat this bill.