Gov. Scott Walker’s budget proposal will affect numerous aspects of Wisconsinites’ lives including one UW-Whitewater holds near and dear to it’s heart: Education.
With a strong education program at UW-Whitewater, students might fear they will see the students they will one day teach face struggles in the upcoming years.
Also, a decrease in funding could ultimately lead to a decrease in the quality of education in Wisconsin. In the long run, this might lead to future incoming UW-Whitewater students being ill prepared for college.
The $834 million cut in funding for state K-12 education over the next two years is one of the biggest issues many have with Walker’s bill.
Many fear the drastic cut will have a crippling effect on the quality of education Wisconsin youth receive.
One of the goals Wisconsin wishes to achieve is to have reading proficiency by third grade for all students.
The cut suggests removing mandates requiring school districts to employ reading specialists.
If school districts determine reading specialists aren’t a necessity, suddenly, the forementioned goal becomes difficult to reach.
Reading specialists aid struggling students who need additional assistance and provide the different educational models those students might need.
By potentially eliminating these positions, it’s unreasonable to expect every grade school student, all of which learn at different speeds, to be proficient in reading skills by the time they reach third grade.
The bill also poses another problem by lifting requirements that charter-school teachers need a teaching license, allowing them to teach with only a bachelor’s degree.
Being a teacher should require far more than having book smarts and knowing one particular subject area.
Teachers need to not only understand how to present information, but each student develops at their own pace and there are different ways to manage every classroom full of children.
However, as terrible as this might all sound, some schools have found somewhat of a silver lining to all of this.
District administrators at Oshkosh schools are confident they can absorb an estimated $4 million loss with minimal damage.
Oshkosh Schools Business Director Bob Tess said the school could save $4.6 million by paying the percentages of their salaries toward pensions and healthcare that Walker is asking.
Also, many teachers eligible for retirement who are upset with the concessions being asked might retire in the upcoming year, saving school districts from resorting to extensive layoffs.
The truth is there are many variables that could inflict positive and negative effects in light of what Walker’s budget entails.
Nonetheless, the cuts will affect us all one day regardless of whether we are teachers or parents of Wisconsin students.
Now is the time to take a stand against the cuts to state education and express our fears on the effects this will have on Wisconsin education before the time has passed.