doug — off the record

just a place to share some thoughts

Easy cuts

It’s getting to the point where I dread opening my morning reading to get caught up on things.

This morning, it was about another school district shipping out redundancy notices. This time, it was for yet another Program Department in a school district. Those teachers, seconded from the classroom won’t be back in the fall.

On a cursory level, it was probably easy enough to pull the trigger on that group. After all, they don’t face a classroom of students on a daily basis. But, let’s see what they did do that will either have to be handled by someone else or dropped completely.

  • Select course materials to keep things current in the classrooms throughout the district. Particularly with some of the really affected subject areas, this could be a very key decision. Can we really rely on the fact that teachers may recognize the mathematics textbooks from the good old days when education was done correctly?
  • Assist in the purchase of computers. A computer is a computer, right? Let’s get the biggest bang for the buck and buy Chromebooks for all our classes and really modernize. Those Computer Science teachers, engineering teacher, and graphics arts / video teachers really don’t need special consideration.
  • Or let’s standardize. iPads all around.
  • Do we really need to select software titles that are installed in every classroom and verify that they work and address curriculum expectations? Let the classroom teacher decide.
  • Privacy? Security? They’re just buzzwords.
  • Those hard technologies pretty much take care of themselves. Most of the teachers come from industry so they know stuff. Ditto for all those music teachers. Surely they know how to do maintenance for their instruments for the fall – if we offer the course.
  • Science labs? They typically come with sinks so things can be maintained there. Problem solved. When in doubt, read the WHMIS posters.
  • Ah, I could go on and on but my tongue is bleeding.

On a serious note, there are the professional learning offerings, classroom invitations, inter-school projects, active research, and so much more.

Sadly, we’re approaching the time of year (if not already done) where the value of a position to a system is evaluated and decisions are made about going forward. Similarly, it’s a time when individuals find themselves justifying their position. It’s not a pleasant or an easy time.

If you look at a typical district website, there will be a superintendent or a few superintendents who have the direct responsibility for program. Others will have responsibilities for instruction. For the most part, they’ve assembled talented Program Department teams to specialize in the subject areas for implementation and support.

Under the proposed model of a larger average class size, those who have fewer or no students in their care will come under increased observation by their colleagues. Perhaps, in a bizarre way, they’re being saved from that situation.

Regardless, it starts the dominoes toppling. When they settle, there will be at least one left over. Of course, there’s the promise that no teacher will lose their job so we’ll see…

In the meantime, and it’s a serious question, how will the tasks normally assumed by this group of individuals be handled? Certainly, the one or two superintendents can’t handle it all. Trickle down to the principals? How much more workload can they assume?

Maybe I’ll wake up to tomorrow’s reading and find the answer.

Or you, smart reader, probably have it solved. Care to share your solution in the comments below?


3 responses to “Easy cuts”

  1. Not only are we losing these experts in the Board and likely to take on these increased responsibilities with far less skill (it’s not about doing more work, but also knowing less about the subject area to do it as well — the kids, the Board, and the community lose out on the benefits of the expert), but it’s also about the overall impact on the system. Last night, Peel Board announced pink slipping hundreds of teachers. Hundreds. This is my 18th year teaching, and I’ve never been in a pink slip reality. My step-dad was once, and it was over 20 years ago. Probably over 25. Why is this happening again? It’s not only going to be true for Peel, but for many other boards. This is a loss of people. A loss of experts. And a loss of the individuals that can probably best support educators and students. This makes me beyond sad this morning. The staffing process just became far more complex this year when surplus also means goodbye to educators. This is worth speaking up about.


    Liked by 1 person

  2. Like you, I dread reading the news of more cuts to boards. The number of people without work in September is stunning already, and not many boards have made their numbers public yet. It’s a shame that we’ll lose so many. I know I’d be considering an out-of-province move were it me. I’m feeling most afraid for the union reactions, to be honest. We typically work at least a year without a contract before work to rule & other job action begins. I don’t even know what to expect this time.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. So Ford says no teachers will lose their jobs yet boards are laying off hundreds and hundreds of teachers? Where are they supposed to go? It is depressing to read the news each day and see the latest rounds of cuts to education and services to children and their families. What makes it infuriating is when Ford and Minister Thompson proclaim that ‘hundreds’ of teachers have contacted them with support for their measures. Really???? Let’s see the data. I can’t imagine teachers applauding as their colleagues are being pink-slipped and their own class sizes are getting larger, with no resources or staff to support them.


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