Don't worry. I won't be calling your house. Unless, of course, it's a social call or we have some business to transact. I won't be ringing you up to try and convince you to vote one way or another. That's why I have this blog. With that being said, I know that there are a number of people who have already punched out, off to look up whatever happened to Snooki's baby. There are probably those who, upon seeing the label, "politics," moved on before they read the first two lines. Serves me right for being honest with my intent. I am, in fact, here to persuade you.
I work at an elementary school in California. Over the past few years, our staff has shrunk. Not on an individual basis, though I am certain that the additional time and effort we have put in has done little to improve our posture. I mean that we used to have an assistant principal, who helped manage the daily tumult of an inner-city school. We used to have substitutes on site to help cover classes when teachers needed to collaborate or observe one another to refine their practice. We had a PE coach who set up games for kids at recess and helped organize after school leagues for them to join. They're all gone now. We're doing the same job, with fewer people. Wait. Strike that. We're doing a tougher job, since the standards in California have once again shifted, and we are all managing new curriculum and expectations.
It's not the first time. Back when I started, sixteen years ago, we had teacher's aides. We had a librarian. We had a security officer. We had a playground that wasn't more cracks and craters than asphalt. While it is true that we have had the generous support of bond measures that have allowed us to "modernize" our building, and a federal grant that has allowed us to lower our class size, the economic realities have hit us hard. So much so that education is now regularly referred to by some as a "special interest."
I know. It's that union thing. For that I apologize, but I won't apologize for the job we do: teaching children. Proposition 30 would make that job easier. Instead of looking over our collective shoulder for the next budget cut, this little piece of legislation would raise money for education by increasing the income tax on those earning more than a quarter of a million dollars a year, as well as raising the state sales tax by a quarter of a percent. I know. It's raising taxes. I won't apologize for that, either. That's what we do when we need to pay for things that have become more expensive. I wish I could tell you that we could all continue to do this teaching thing with less, but it's starting to take its toll on those of us on the front lines. Education majors aren't as attractive as they once were. If they ever were. Preparing the next generation to face a world that is changing faster than our outdated textbooks should be a priority worth supporting. Even if it means paying for it. You can't get something for nothing. A teacher taught me that.
Please vote yes on Proposition 30 - or I won't tell any more stories about lawn darts.