Thursday, August 5, 2010


I faced a situation today that I felt really needed to be pursued. After much thought, I opened my mouth and expressed my concern to someone in power. There could be, in fact would be, consequences if my involvement were to be discovered by my boss. But I just could not let it go. I'm not so sure what part of the 8-limb path this situation belongs to, but I feel pretty comfortable that I did the right thing.

Our high school, where I work, is on its' way to being overcrowded. Technically we are not over capacity but we have several classes that, due to staff cuts, are getting very full. My son's class, the sophomores, seem to be particularly hard hit. His geometry class has 32 students in it at this point. I believe it will hit 35 before we are done enrolling.

This is understandable to me as a parent as well as a school district employee. The economy has hit our state hard and consequently our education budget is shrinking as well.

What is not understandable to me is why we are taking two foreign exchange students. We also are taking two students from other high schools in our district. They have applied to our school, their parents are not district employees (the people who are usually allowed to do in-district transfers), and yet they are planning to enroll at our school. Yes, it's true that the other high schools in our district are also facing growing class sizes. But the reality is that students from our part of the district do not apply to go to the other schools. We are near a major metropolitan area and the rest of the schools are further away from that. Students like to move north to us and not south to them.

So why are we moving "optional" students in to our schools when our own students are already packed in their core classes?

I didn't ask my principal this question. There are reasons for that which I don't want to go into. But I did call my school board member. As I suspected, he was not aware of the situation. He made a call immediately to the board chairman and called me back to assure me that the issue would be raised with our superintendent. He also said they would bring up this concern while masking the source of the information.

Should I have done this? Conscientiously, as a parent, I felt I had to. But as an employee, I committed a faux pas by leapfrogging over my immediate superior.

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