Recently, I had lunch with a fellow art teacher. We have known each other for several years professionally, but this was the first time we’d gotten together socially. The more we talked, the more things we found we had in common.
We both are women of a certain age, whose teaching careers have been cut short by forces not within our control.
We both had built popular high school programs focused on teaching students about publications and print media. We both had seen our students move from these programs to graduate and seek post-secondary education, preparatory to going into related careers.
When I was forced by a drop in enrollment to leave my program, it ended. Now she is being forced to leave her program, because the district is terminating it.
Talking together, we worried about our students who were only partway through our programs when they were ended. We worried about what will happen (has happened, in my case), when other students with similar aptitudes and interests come along, but no program exists to excite and guide them toward interesting careers.
This is our perspective on the fruits of “school reform” in the age of slashing budgets. Class sizes are going up. Good, passionately engaged teachers are being thrown away. Options are narrowing for students. Fewer and fewer different learning styles are being accommodated.
We are at a loss to see how this will improve education.