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Problem: Budget Cuts and the Deprofessionalization of Teaches

A Research Paper submitted to Jeffery Bloom
Professional Problems of Teachers (ECI-696)

Northern Arizona University

July 6, 2011

As the economy continues to decline schools districts are filling the pressure to stay within there budgets. They are scaling back in the classroom; with supplies, content and teachers. The stakes are even higher as our nation’s inches even closer to finish line of No Child Left Behind (NCLB). Teachers today as in the years passed have been the backbone to our nations future but as the money disappears so will they. The demand of a highly quailed teacher’s maybe an ideal of the past. Students are being punished in the forms of lager classrooms, missing teachers and learning mainly from ancillary material. Teachers are at the mercy of the money and when it is not their, they can do nothing. This study will show the importance of a qualified teacher, the impact of compact disc replacing teachers and pre-package curriculum have had on our nations students, and the need for highly qualified teachers in the classroom.

Problem: Budget Cuts and the Deprofessionalization of Teaches

Some children grow up and want to be doctors and lawyers and some grow up and want to be president or even a teacher. Some jobs can get one prestige and other jobs may get one rich but teaching gives the sense and change and accomplishment. It is cliché but teachers make a difference and mold the lives of our youth into intellectuals who one day will become the doctors and lawyers they dream to be. Teachers are the tool belts that give their students the tools to become their dreams. Yet school districts are desperate to scale back their budgets and get out the read tape therefore they have tuned over the teaching to compacts discs, pre package curriculum and less qualified teachers. Can any one really teach or are the budget cuts forcing the deprofessionalization of teachers? If the curriculum is scripted who knows what credentials the actor will have.
A teacher’s day starts long before the bell rings. An engaging teacher must pre-plan, pre-read, and prepare for the students that will walk through their doors. Some may say the planning begins as the future teachers leaves home and attends college to get the education and the tools to become a master teacher and once that is achieve one must take a test to say they are educationally qualified. A problem in New Jersey schools is the budget and that is affecting the level of curriculum the students are getting. To save money because teachers are so expensive districts are cutting jobs and bring in less qualified teachers and using pre-boxed sets of curriculum to educate the students.
From Rosetta Stone that replaces language teachers to less qualified teachers being hired in social studies and given a box set to teach from, students in some New Jersey schools are being left behind because of the budget. When the budget went south in New Jersey the governor and the state house cut millions from the foreign language department and school boards turned to compact discs. Alex Davis from Newsroom Jersey wrote, “Due to an $820 million reduction in state funding, some school districts have turned to computer language-learning software, Rosetta Stone” (2010). The same school boards ask now why they are graduating students who are mono linguist who can not read or write in a second language. It comes down to the bottom line, “Ridgewood [a high ranking school district in New Jersey] saved just under $200,000 by ridding three teaching positions” (Davis 2010). Students in the elementary schools can not possibly move forward learning only one to two hours a week from a compact disc. New Jersey is not moving their students forward in a world that is starving for their citizens to speak more than one language.
The budget cuts have deprofessionalizaed the art of language teachers and what they bring to the classroom. Are students truly getting what they deserved? Steve Ackley of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages told Newsroom Jersey, “software should not replace teacher instruction” (Davis 2010). When there is no money the easy way out will always win. Daniel Fishbein the Ridgewood Public Schools Superintendent told Davis, “Having a (world language) teacher in the classroom is always the best, "But in these times, we need to look to other ways to deliver what we do” (2010). In this situation every one loses, the teacher their job, the student their education and the parent their taxes going towards a compact discs set program. Time will be the only judge to see if Mr. Fishbein made the right decision on choosing Rosetta Stone for his district. The problem is New Jersey is producing students who can not speak Spanish or French. New Jersey way to save money has bankrupted our student’s abilities to speak.

Another problem facing our nation’s schools is the use of pre - box sets as a substitute to hard care real teaching. Ancillary hands are replacing real life problem solving authentic assessments in the classroom. It is a lot cheaper and easier to higher someone who is a machine then a real life instructor. According to Caroline Rekar Munro, “The conceptual framework for best practices should stretch beyond the collection of teaching actives and embrace a macro perspective” (2005). Professional teachers are asked to prioritize their teacher practices and differentiate their teachers to meet the needs of their entire class. An idea pre-box of curriculum would never be able to achieve. Education is longer one size fits all; it is a menu of choices to cater to the needs of the entire classroom.
Young and older professionals are no long taking the tradition route to the classroom any more. If it is your dream as a young child to be something other then a teacher the professional carrier person can always make the change to be teacher by taking an alternative method to get into the profession. Teachers who take the alternative route mirror the same characteristics, “ they have at least a bachelor’s degree; pass a screening process; engage in on-the-job training; complete coursework or equivalent experiences in professional education studies while teaching; usually work with mentor teachers; and meet high performance standards” (Reese 2010). These teachers are molded into what the school wants them to be and gives way to the idea that any one can teach. Just get the licenses and you can trade that in for a class list.
The deprofessionalization of teachers is helping schools save money. If they can use compact dices, pre-packaged material and get lucky with finding a less qualified teacher then the superintended wins. It may not be what they want but in this economy it is the gamble they will take. An alternative route teacher still will need to be mentored and that cost money but in the long run will be cheaper then a teacher who has taught for 30 or 40 years. The students and parents are also losing out. Learning while reading from a computer screen or a worksheet is not going to prepare the students for the 21st century work place where instant answers do not pop up.
The key players in the game of deprofessionalization are the superintends who are allowing schools to get of teachers and using cheaper products and principal who turn the other way and allow higher cheaper less qualified teachers. This problem is definitely an economies one. It is coast before anything else, the school bought the program and now they will spend the next couple of years implementing it. Teachers will have to bear the change but the economic savings will shadow anything else (Posner 2004).
The assumptions that underlie this problem are that everyone’s child will get the education that they deserve with less then great teachers and materials. If you take the teacher out of the equation will the students still be prepared properly. Another assumption is that anyone can teach. One can use this profession as a fall back. If the first dream job does not pan out then the second choice will become the best choice. Teaching deserves more then being second best just as our students deserve to learn from a highly qualified passionate teacher.
The chaos and complexity of the events that are shaping our education system is an orientation that one may hope does not last long. Educators are asking students to have interactions with content that they may not be ready to do yet. The high ordered thinking skills needed to complete self guided work may not be developed yet for students to learn from compact dices or ancillary material. New Jersey educator may be pushing their students to hard to fast.

The schools budget is the underline problem in many school districts. Many school principals would rather have a real highly qualified teacher in their classrooms then imitation ones. If the economy was out of the red then everything would be fine. That is not the reality the United States is in right now. Schools are doing the best they can do right now. With the deprofessionalization of teachers, this obstacle can only be fixed when governors and other high ranking public officials give educators the clout they deserve. The New Jersey Teachers Union is running positive ads on the television and in print. Our governor is at war with the teachers union and right now he is winning. He is turning the state against the teachers that teach their very children. One solution could be more town hall meetings with teachers and the union. Many Jersey schools are performing and they need to get out and do more positive things to show the hard work that is being done in and out of the schools.
A way to raise money for the school could be pay to play sports, pay for materials, pay to join clubs, limit the number of photo copies teachers make, and lower the heating and cooling of the school and terminate less effective teachers. Advertisements need to be created to bring positive energy and more students which equal more money, sale adds to businesses and get endorsements from big company’s to raise money. These may seem trivial but every bit helps. Schools have to start somewhere, and be flexible along the way. School will always be an expensive business and it needs to be treated like one.
The budget is turning out to be a major problem in our nation’s schools. School districts have tuned over the teaching to compacts discs which hurting teacher jobs and the students, students are learning from pre package curriculum and less qualified teachers take an alternative route to get the classroom. As the schools years come to an end what else will be leaving for the summer? What else can be seen as an expenditure to the school? Will the students come back to in the fall to larger classrooms, no textbooks or a teacher? Time will only tell. Will their teacher be burnt out of the deprofessionalization of their job? There would be no lawyers or doctors if there were no highly qualified teachers to get them there.

Davis, Alex (2010). NJ Turns to Rosetta Stone Over language Teachers. Retrieved June 28, 2011, from over- language-teachers.

Munro, C. (2005). "Best Practices" in Teaching and Learning: Challenging Current Paradigms and Redefining Their Role in Education. College Quarterly, 8(3), Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

Posner, G. J. (2004). Chapter 8 Frame Factors (pp. 191-215). In: Analyzing the Curriculum (3rd ed). Boston: McGraw Hill.

Reese, S. (2010). Traditional or Alternative—Finding New Teachers Along Different Pathways. Techniques: Connecting Education & Careers, 85(1), 16. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

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