Recession has been detrimental to schools and education for the last few years. Most teachers I know are working harder, working longer hours, differentiating for 25 to 30 students each day, in addition to professional development, parent communication, duty, and preparing lessons. We are all doing more with less of everything, especially time and money. I’m not the only teacher in the country who goes home exhausted each day and winds up again the following morning with a smile on my face feeling like I’m going to change the world.
I spend many Saturday and Sunday mornings discussing these issues over coffee and the newspaper with my confidant of 25+ years, my husband. Today I noticed an article from Washington State where the Governor was trying to balance the budget. Like many Governors around the country, the lack of funding and revenue has affected all of us in the education business. I was surprised to see that they were thinking of eliminating the school bus service for all public schools saving some incredible amount of money. At first I thought this was a ridiculous idea, but the more I thought about it, the more I liked it.
School buses, the everlasting American symbol of children and schools, big, yellow, and almost empty on a daily basis, making their daily morning and afternoon trips around any American town, Monday through Friday would be gone. But would we really miss them? Those Diesel chugging, no seat belt, square boxes, with uncomfortable seats, screaming children, and mischief run amok vehicles no longer hauling a few children around each day, probably not!
From my observation, our school systems could do without these money guzzling, air-polluting vehicles. I would definitely feel very bad for those tried and true bus drivers who love their job, and greet our children each day with a smile, but the truth is, many parents drive their children to school. How do I know this, well the snake-like procession of cars each day that winds through our parking lot as parents drop off or pick up their children. Their reasoning is endless for driving everyday, it’s too hot, it’s too cold, they have dance, music, baseball, etc, etc, etc!
In retrospect, I would miss the smell of diesel in the morning and my friends the bus drivers, but realistically I know that saving a teacher in the classroom or repairing a roof or air-conditioner might be more beneficial to the education system as a whole if no other solution can be found. What’s your take on this budget move by Washington State?