There seems to be a common theme in education traveling across the globe right now. The budgets in all school districts are shrinking. Less and less money is being supplied to schools from the government. Taxes are rising, but somehow less money is being spent on education. It’s up to the schools to figure out how to make the budget cuts necessary and still provide a quality education for the students involved.
Class sizes are increasing because the lack of funding to hire more teachers. Headteachers are left trying to find more ways to pare back the budget even greater. They have to consider all possibilities just so they can continue opening their doors every day. What’s the next thing to be cut in the ongoing process of working with a shrinking budget?
In quite a few school, the ratio of teachers to teacher assistants is almost one to one. Teacher assistants do quite a few things in the school that some teachers may not have enough time to do in their busy day. They frequently are seen making copies, grading papers, sitting with specific students offering help, supervising recess, watching the doors before and after school, and just generally being of great assistance to the school. While most teacher assistants do not have the certification to be a classroom teacher, they offer help to the staff at a basic rate of pay.
Teacher assistants can make anywhere from about £11,500 a year to as high as £17,000 a year depending on their experience and the specific local education authority (LEA) they are working for. Less than the actual teachers get paid, but still a decent wage for working nine months and not having to ever bring work home with them.
With headteachers looking at making cuts to make their budget work, teacher assistants are next in line. Many places have already let teacher assistants go or have asked them to take a reduction in pay. More headteachers will soon be examining this in the near future. What are the ramifications in doing so?
Teachers are being asked to increase their workload as a result of districts letting go their support staff. So not only are the class sizes getting larger, but educators are told that their help has now been eliminated. This means a longer workday for the teacher, but not an increase in pay.
There are quite a number of students that have in their Individual Education Plan that they must have a teacher’s aide with them in all their classes. Instead, with these cuts, the onus is put entirely on the teacher. Individualised support must now be provided by the teacher in a classroom filled with students. In certain circumstances, some teachers have up to five of these students in their class. There is not enough time in the day to divide up equally between the students in the classroom.
Possible Ways to Save the Money
In life, you can’t just say a circumstance is unfair and then leave it at that. All this does is place a “complainer” label squarely on you. You must come up with alternative answers to the problem. Try to find a solution, instead of just harping on the negatives.
What are possible ways to fix the school budget? We all know the government is not going to walk through the door offering more money. Plus, increasing government involvement in education is usually a surefire way to make education even worse. This is how we came into this problem in the first place.
Corporations are sponsoring and funding things all over the globe. Are we soon going to be experiencing Math class brought to you by Apple? Or Pepsi’s Reading Challenge? This may not seem so far-fetched as people might think.
Another answer could be to save money on purchasing textbooks every few years. Textbooks are very expensive to purchase. With technology being used more and more often in the classroom, the next logical step would be to use online textbooks for all subjects. These textbooks would be a much cheaper alternative since the school would basically be purchasing a textbook subscription for their students.
In any case, alternatives need to be looked into instead of reducing the staff in a district with rising numbers. Smaller class sizes are needed for a better education, not larger class sizes. Students need more support, not less. Just like they teach in the classroom when trying to figure out a problem, we must brainstorm together and figure out a quality solution.