As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Monday, March 16, 2009

Say Goodbye To The Teachers Of The Year

Pink Slip Day in California was always going to be gut-wrenching, with precautionary notices of potential losses for up to 26,000 employees. But we heard a familiar refrain on that day, of not just qualified but superlative teachers getting the ax at a time when good individual educators are prized at the national level and told they deserve pay raises.

Debbie Winsteen was one of 11 elementary teachers from Burbank Unified School District who received the honor for the 2008-2009 school year. (A previous report incorrectly identified her as a California Teacher of the Year honoree.)

This year, the Burbank Elementary School teacher received a layoff notice, according to KFWB Radio. She has taught in the district for five years."My immediate anger, right now, is with our state legislators and the governor, and my board of education," Winsteen told KFWB. "Our fate, and the fate of our kids, is in their hands.

Winsteen is not alone. The Teacher of the Year in the Lucia Mar USD got a pink slip. So did the Santa Barbara County Teacher of the Year. Not only are teachers losing their jobs at a time when class size reduction is meant to be the overall goal of the educational system, but the very best of them are among the casualties.

In past years, these pink slips would eventually be rescinded. This year we know they are more likely to be definitive. And so one of the worst education systems in the country will get worse, and some of the best teachers that they did manage to attract will have to go elsewhere to pursue their careers. This is the bill coming due for 30 years of incompetence and pushing off solutions at the state level. And without structural reform it will continue.

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