Harm caused by not hiring enough teachers

First place, opinion writing

The 2019-2020 school year started off rocky with the lack of teachers. The issue being, the district is going through a teacher shortage, the teachers were laid off and not posting jobs prior to the start of the school year.

According to Lori Jablonski, a teacher and SCTA Union rep, the problem started in April, when many teachers and educators were pink-slipped and laid off, due to the district believing they were experiencing a budget crisis.

When rescinding those layoffs, many teachers left the school district to find other jobs. The problem didn’t stop there, the district could not post jobs until all the layoffs were rescinded, causing a delay in hiring new teachers. Then the new school year started, with many schools across the district experiencing an influx of subs, or in the cases for elementary students, concapping.

Credentialed teachers in every public school classroom is the minimum expectation from a public school district, and when that minimum is not met, students suffer. At C.K McClatchy, over 35 classes a day are left in the hand of substitute teachers,in the beginning of the year.

Not to discredit the work the subs are putting in, but some subs just aren’t qualified to teach a math class or a biology class and students end up completing packets to keep them busy. This is not a way to learn. It’s very hard to learn a subject that your educator knows nothing about, especially in classes where you are supposed to be developing your learning like Spanish and Math classes. In personal experience, I had a long term substitute in biology my 9th-grade year, in which we did science packets the whole year.

For several months, December till June, my class did not have a credential teacher, so I know firsthand the effects of learning in a long term substitute classroom.

The absence of teachers goes beyond the suffering of high school students. Elementary school students are impacted greatly. Concapping, a term used by the district, which describes bussing students from their home school to a new school. The reason they are concapping elementary school students is that they are over-enrolled.

My younger sister, a fourth grader, started a new year at our neighborhood school “home school,” Peter Burnett Elementary and a couple weeks in, we were notified that she had to be moved to another school and that they don’t know what school yet.

Unknowingly, the district transferred her to a school 30 minutes away the next week. My mother, a mom to four other children who all attend different schools is stretched to the maximum, transporting 4 kids to 4 different schools in 4 different areas of Sacramento. Instead of transferring her to a school in a neighboring area, all less than a 5 mile radius of the original elementary school, they transport her daily to a school in an unfamiliar area.

This suggests that the surrounding elementary schools are going through the same understaffing and over enrollment because all 6 schools neighboring couldn’t take in any students. The one positive situation in this mess is that the district does provide transportation to those who are forced to attend a new school. The district provides busses to and from school from the student’s home school and new school for easier pickups.

The flip side to this is that kids are expected to show up at their original elementary school at 6:30 am to be bussed to their new school daily. This is highly unrealistic and extreme to ask of a 9 year old. Kids, especially elementary students usually attend school at 9 am and suddenly having to attend school 2 hours early throws off the student’s circadian rhythm as well as parent’s schedules.

This shows the pure incompetence of the district. Concapping was not something me and my fellow peers heard of in our elementary careers. But now, my younger sister is being bussed off to a school across town because the school, our home school, a two minute walk from our house, is overenrolled.

The anger that I rage from this situation, compelled me to discuss the lack of reason and action the district is showing. Families are suffering. At the board meeting the district held, many parents expressed their dismay with the district sending their children across town.

Students should be able to come to school and learn. There shouldn’t be a discrepancy in who the teacher is or where a child is supposed to go to school. If a school district cannot offer all its students a teacher, than what can they offer its students? Certainly not a proper education for all students as promised.