Should parents feel the sting of cuts as much as teachers?
Our friends at the Gradebook blog have an interesting story on the issue of teachers forced to take unpaid furloughs to make up for budget shortfalls. The teachers union in Pasco County has thrown up the idea that at least one of the district's mandatory unpaid leave days should take place on a school day. That way budget cuts affect kids and parents too, and not just employees. If it falls on a Wednesday, parents will have to take a day off work or get a sitter and then maybe they'll feel the same pain as the teachers and speak up when it comes to school funding. But if they make the furlough day Dec. 22, it will simply be one more day in the winter break and will go by unnoticed.
I gotta say, I kind of like this. Even though, as a working mom, this would cost me a huge amount of hassle, maybe that's a good thing. If a teacher is taking an unpaid day of work, maybe I should feel a little more discomfort when the school is closed so that these school budget talks hit closer to home.
When I floated this theory to a friend who follows school news closely and is a parent himself, he wasn't so giving. When he sees stories of administrative waste of taxpayer money, he doesn't feel as much sympathy. Sure he feels for teachers, but he's not sure that pitting parents against teachers puts the target in the right spot.
So what do you think, should we make parents squirm along with the teachers during these budget crunches?
--Sharon Kennedy Wynne
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