I have been a teacher for over 30 years, 25 years in Florida, and I have never been as worried about the future of public school education as I am today! My own children have completed their time in our public schools and have both completed college. They had a strong public school education that well prepared them for the rigors of a post secondary education. But next year a new generation of my family will walk through the doors. My first grand daughter will enter Chets Creek as a Kindergartner. I am thrilled with the education that our children get at this A+ school, but I have to wonder how even more budget cuts will slash our ability to continue to provide the same quality education that has been our cornerstone. Will she continue to get Music, Art and PE? Will our school be able to squeeze out the dollars to provide character education and an outstanding bully prevention program? Will there be someone at the desk when she wants to check out a book from the Media Center? Will there be someone to read her beautiful stories and teach her to use the computer as she grows up in this technology-rich society. Will there be someone to warn her about social networks and teach her to infuse technology into every fiber of her learning? We our schools even be able to keep up with basic technology needs or will she have to learn from friends (both the good and the harmful) on the fly outside of school? If she is gifted or if she struggles with words and numbers, will there be a guidance counselor and special teachers to make sure that she learns to the best of her ability? Will her teachers continue to get quality professional development so that they can continue to learn and grow as new research becomes available? As I look at the cuts, all of this seems in jeopardy to me!
This is the time to step up and be counted - to advocate for those that have no voice of their own. We are asking you to use your voice to advocate for every child in our community. Now more than ever, our school system needs a funding source that they can count on. We cannot afford any more unfunded legislative mandates - things we are required to do but get no funds! We know that the State of Florida is facing an overwhelming budget shortfall; however, we need education to be funded FIRST so that we are investing in our future. If we really believe that our children are our future, then we need to make sure that our voice is heard. With just a few minutes of your time, you can ensure that our legislators know that public education is important. If you are unsure which of the legislators is a representative of your area, you can logon to http://www.myflorida.com/. There is a small box at the bottom right of the page that you can use by typing in your zip code to get a list of your respective legislators. Each call, letter or e-mail to our legislators counts! I have e-mailed my legislator. It's time for you to do the same. Our united effort will send a strong message throughout our community and our state and to our elected officials that we value public education. Take the time. Make a difference and let your child know that it is all of love of a very special child!