Political Pondering — Across the Board Cuts to Schools

If across the board cuts become reality (which is looking more likely), then it has been proposed that districts across the state

CUT ALL ACTIVITIES AND ATHLETICS THAT ARE OUTSIDE THE SCHOOL DAY

My question — Is this what we really want for our teens?

Proponents of this position think it will save a major share of potential cuts, thus protecting the classroom.

Will it save over 10 million in Wichita? I doubt it.

Is this what we really want? Do we want teens to have nothing to do after school? Do we want teens to not have school activities to attend on Friday nights?

If not athletics and activities, then the next item on the chopping block is music, art, PE and libraries. Again is this what we want for the children and teens of Kansas?

If not athletics, activities, PE arts and libraries, then the next alternative is shorter school years. Districts can get around the time requirements by lengthening the days. For high schools, a 20 minute longer day translates into 3 to 5 more minutes per class (depending on number of classes held each day). It’s very hard to make up for lost days of instruction in three to five minute chunks! Lengthening a school day for high schools means those teens involved in after school functions (assuming we still have them) get home even later in the evening – cutting into family and homework time.

If not athletics, activities, PE, arts, libraries or shorter school years, then another option is to cut the technology. Technology in schools is expensive. However, we cannot begin to prepare students to be college and career ready if they don’t have access to technology. Think about it — as an adult are you willing to give up your phone, tablet, laptop, computer, Internet connection? OR do those devices connect you to the information and resources for your job / life? If we as adults are not willing to give up this access — 8 am to 3 pm Monday thru Friday for 180 days — then why should we expect students to not have the same ability to access information and resources – and to learn the technical skills to work with information and data?

For Kansas, our options are to buck up and raise taxes or to face cuts. The sales tax package failed this morning. Thus, cuts may be coming.

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