Thursday, March 23, 2017

Red 4 Ed

Due to class sizes—and potential limits on said sizes—some schools in North Carolina are facing the choice of eliminating PE/music/art in order to free up money in the budget to hire more core teachers. This has everybody up in arms, and understandably so...I guess. 

I have to admit that when I think about it I wonder if an elementary school needs a dedicated PE teacher. None that I went to ever had one. Though I think Joe Clark Elementary did, I never actually attended that school. When I was in elementary school our teachers taught us PE. Or another teacher at the school taught PE while our teacher was teaching their class something else, for example, in grade four (at Alice M. Curtis) my teacher was the French teacher for all the grade four classes. The teacher next door was the PE teacher for all the grade four classes. And the other teacher taught...something else. I can't remember what.

I do remember that in grade five Mrs. Bienart (my teacher) taught science. Madame Muir taught French. And the other teacher taught PE. We just rotated on through them.

Alice M. Curtis had a dedicated art teacher, which I thought was totally weird because Leigh didn't. 

I think having a dedicated music teacher is pretty standard...I dunno.

Anyway, part of me thinks it would make sense to eliminate these specialty positions and have the core teachers cover the subjects. Because it's elementary school and finding art projects to do is pretty easy. Making kids run laps isn't terribly difficult either (though I don't think they run laps these days—which is so sad because that was one of the few things I excelled at in PE. Putting a ball through a hoop or hitting a ball with a stick? Not so much. Running around in circles? Totally had that down. My nickname in class was The Energizer Bunny (she keeps going and going and going), this explains my off-again-on-again relationship with long-distance running). 

The other part of me completely understands why these "specials" teachers are worried about losing their positions and why the "core" teachers are worried about having to fill more time during the day. 

Every part of me thinks that public education is important and needs better funding from the government because if we don't invest in our children—the future—then...just...what are we thinking?! Come on.

So, that was a very long way of saying that the kids' school is having a "Red 4 Ed" campaign right now. The kids and staff are invited to wear red every Wednesday and the children have been making posters about why their "specials" are special. I helped Rachel's class hang their posters in the hall today after I volunteered in Miriam's classroom. The posters are pretty cute. 

My favourite thing, though, was this big banner in the middle of the school, asking people why they wear "RED 4 ED."

Smack dab in the middle of the poster was this:

I saw it out of the corner of my eye as we were heading to Miriam's classroom and I had to stop to re-read it because I was wondering why the administration had allowed a "mean" word (brat) to be so prominently displayed in the hallway.

This pupil wasn't name-calling though. No. They just want to "seller brat" good times, come on!

Because if anything is worth "seller bratting," it's public education.

I don't think I will ever get over this. 


  1. Ahaha! This reminds me of in "Born in East L.A." where the main character is trying to teach the Asian guys English and he spells out "wuz appenin."

    1. I would worry that if they get rid of the specials teachers then eventually the programs will disappear too. Schools are already underfunded and I could easily see them just cut music and art out; which I think would be very sad. We do need more funding!

  2. At my kids school currently the teachers teach art although there is a dedicated art teacher for tje older kids that does a paid after school art club, there is a pe teacher. My kids run thw mile twice a week, so they still do that, as well as more fun things like a roller skating section and yes basketball, baseball, tenis, and volleyball. They also did dodge ball which I guess my kids liked. There is a intense music teacher. She did a big Christmas program with the whole school. There was singing, dancing, recorder was intense. She also did two grade peograms this last months...again, singing, dancing, and solos. They also teach spanish as a special and there is a spanish teacher. I think it is nice to have some non academic breaks in the day and I also worry that as schools get more obsessed with test scores, if they don't have the actually specialist it is easier to say, well lets just drop this and spend more time sitting in desk practicing for test. Plus what the heck else would I want my taxes paying for. We pay a ton of taxes. Education, health care for the elderly, sick, and poor, pbs, meals on wheels, school lunches, vetern affairs, teacher , police, firefighter, soldier actual pay, science...these are the things I'm happy to pay taxes to. Military contractor business who then spend spend a ton of money lobbying congress for more money...not so much 😐

    1. Wow! Your school sounds amazing. Our music/PE programs aren't like that at all. I mean, the kids do a grade-level performance (at their current school...not at our first school where they did nothing)...but no glorious school-wide production. And I don't think the kids learn anything at PE, not really. When they describe what they do at PE I'm always like, "Really? REALLY?" But, it could just be the schools here...

      At my elementary schools without dedicated PE teachers—sometimes my teachers were the PE teachers—we had skating units and swimming units and skiing units. So I've seen it work...but that was "back in the old days," I guess. And/or other country-ness. There are a lot of things about the American education system that I've found quizzical... Not that Canada's is perfect. Just different.

      Like the fact that PE could be a "term" class (so some elementary kids don't have PE all year long...?! (we had it every single day)) or that science was considered a "special" in my sibling's school. I was like, "Pretty sure that's a core subject..."


      Having schools end up throwing out the baby with the bathwater is a concern of mine too (or throwing out the program with the specialists). Especially here.

      Though I know that it can work without the specialists...which were hardly a thing growing up for me. I just checked my old schools' websites to see if I'm being crazy. Leigh has a music teacher, Spitzee has a music teacher, Joe Clark has a music music seems to be the only real "specialist" that any of my schools had. But we still did French and art and PE. I think the whole mindset behind education is different though. And that's fine.

      Also, I want my tax dollars going the same places as you! :/