Christy Robbins: Spending on teachers is not the problem | Opinion, Commentary, Editorials, Op-Ed and Letters to the Editor - News for Dallas, Texas - The Dallas Morning News

Saturday, April 09, 2011
Here's the article I wrote for this week's Sunday paper.  I know many have opinions on what is important and what can be sacrificed.  We see it from a 'different' side, but I had to speak for mine, at the risk of much critisism.  In the middle of the education world, I see the impact.  The consequences of the choices are breaking my heart.  Cuts are required.  Many people who are making the decisions about what must be cut are the same people who made the decisions that led to the debt crisis in Texas.  It would take a lot to convince me it was excessive spending on education that wrote this story we are living in the State Capitol.  In the end, I can't speak for the higher ups, but down in the trenches, I assure you we have a budget we don't deviate from as teachers.  Decisions will be made.  I just knew I'd feel better for being heard....even if it's just my Mom listening. 
Christy Robbins: Spending on teachers is not the problem Opinion, Commentary, Editorials, Op-Ed and Letters to the Editor - News for Dallas, Texas - The Dallas Morning News
If the link doesn't work, here is the article without the fancy pictures, heading etc, I don't know why it's underlined: 
As a product of the school district in which I teach, I have the unique opportunity to remember well the impact of the very same programs, teachers and resources that are threatened by cuts facing my district.

As a student, I sat back and witnessed the country-sky demonstration at the planetarium and realized the world was bigger than Richardson, Texas.

I remember trips to Enterprise City, a work-force simulation. I worked for the paper, earned a check, shopped on my lunch hour and balanced my checkbook.

I learned to love art, make an impact, create a safe classroom and work with words to make a difference in the life of a child.

At the first murmurs of education cuts, I brainstormed a list of ideas. I like to keep opinions on hand in case anyone asks.

I figured Gov. Rick Perry might want to call and run a few ideas by me. He didn’t. In fact, few in Austin wanted to hear teachers’ voices.

Outside of my district, I’ve yet to be asked what should happen. When I turn on the news, I hear reasons why various education areas can be sacrificed. I rarely read research regarding the value of these programs on the chopping block.

I consult a doctor before I treat an illness. I research maps before heading out on trips.

Shouldn’t someone consult experts on education before heading down this path?

Living in a large state that borders another country creates new educational challenges as cultures collide, and we work to find successful strategies for the ever-evolving Texas student. I’d say Texas teachers have done a good job.

It’s hard for me to know where to begin when defending our current use of tax dollars. Should I explain a teacher’s classroom budget? My team and I received roughly $12 a year per student to buy supplies, make copies, create manipulatives and learning opportunities for all students in all subject areas. We did it. We never went over budget. Not once.

Districts are trying to work out issues with the state to provide ideas for possible fixes, but we are headed for a divorce of philosophies.

Realizing we are better together than apart means the state would have to find another way to fix their budget crisis.

Sure, teachers will maintain a relationship with the state after the divorce is finalized. We’ll stay together for the kids, but it won’t be the same.

Are there definite cuts we can make in education? Yes.

But teacher spending is not the problem. It shouldn’t be the solution.

Yes, demand vendors stop taking advantage of budgets. Yes, trim frivolous spending and perks. But big cuts come in the form of people. People who influence student futures, raise the leaders, entrepreneurs and teachers of tomorrow. The more exposure students get to a variety of people in schools, the more chance we have at reaching them all.

I’ve seen aides make connections with students in desperate need of mentoring, math specialists crack open a student’s division difficulties, and reading specialists teach sixth-graders how to love reading and crave literacy.

As an RISD student, I received the lessons needed to come back and teach future alumni. Experiences like Enterprise City landed me here as a Voices volunteer columnist, though the pay is slightly less than Enterprise newspaper.

Texas teachers aren’t asking for raises, better insurance or more vacation. We want students to have the help they need. We want a voice in decision-making, not room to express our feelings after decisions are made.

Think about what today’s decisions will mean for students 25 years from now. This is about more than economics. Use skills your teachers once taught in social studies classes, economics and arithmetic lessons. Do the math. Apply the logic. What will these choices look like in our history books?


malia said...

good for you christy! you're a fantastic writer ( -:

Tina said...

:0( can't read it unless I sign up for an account with that paper.

Ashley said...

I would love to read it, but cant without an account with that paper :/

Christy said...

I've posted the body. The paper sort of owns the publishing, but hopefully this will be OK. :O)

Gwen @ Gwenny Penny said...

Amen to that! Great article, Christy.

tt.scraps said...


Marcy said...

Amen to that Christy! I live and teach in South Dakota, the lowest paid in the nation, and education is taking a 6.6% cut for the 11-12 school year. We have majorly successful programs being cut and it is definitely heartbreaking. Although I obviously didn't go into teaching for the money, the 2-4% pay cut isn't going to be lovely either, considering I'm not getting paid for my worth anyway. When will education EVER be at the top of priority lists?