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Layoffs of Valuable Teachers are Detrimental to UC

Unsigned, Editorial Board

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Many of us have seen our teachers walk around in those red t-shirts with the phrase “Together We are Stronger” stamped across the front. Sadly, it’s not the hot new fashion craze. It’s an act of resistance against the depressing job trend bleeding through all schools in the San Diego Unified School District.

  According to the San Diego Union Tribune, our school district is facing a 124 million dollar budget deficit. While efforts were made to minimize classroom impact, with layoffs starting at the central office instead of schools, and Superintendent Cindy Marten taking a 5.6 percent salary reduction, it isn’t enough to satiate our hungry budget. Throughout the district, 1,395 positions are being cut, including classified workers such as custodians, office staff, school police officers, and 891 teachers (sandiegouniontribune.com).

  Frankly, this sucks. No matter how much we like to complain, UC High is a great school with great teachers. Now, many of them are being put on the chopping block not because of anything they did, but because of budget cuts and district policies. “If there is going to be a loss in staffing, the rules first require schools to determine the teachers, who have the least seniority on staff in the teaching area being impacted, and let them know they are being placed in excess. The teaching areas to reduce at a school are driven by what courses students sign up to take for classes,” said Principal Jeff Olivero. “At this point, no one has created a system in education for determining who is the best to keep. I have my own ideas, but the seniority system is what we have in place for the time being. I am hopeful someday this will change.”

  According to the Voice of San Diego, UC High will lay off 11 teachers for the 2017-18 school year. Though the district maintains that class cap sizes will stay at 36, it is likely that some previously smaller classes will grow towards capacity. Subsequently, students will get less personal attention and be less able to form connections with teachers (voiceofsandiego.org). These connections are vital. It’s easier to pay attention to a lesson if we see that the teacher understands us. Their classrooms are our safe spaces. They see potential in us before we see it in ourselves.

 

Students are losing their beloved teachers, teachers are losing their jobs, and there’s still going to be a deficit no matter what we do.”

  “Losing two of my teachers is definitely a shock, especially considering they’re some of the best teachers I’ve ever had. The fact that other students won’t get to experience their classes in the future seems unfair as well, because they won’t be able to get the same kind of quality education that my classmates and I had,” said Junior Chris Prell.

  “I think this is really sad and disappointing for the teachers. One of my teachers is getting laid off, and I really enjoyed my time with her. I hope that my teacher, and the rest of the teachers getting laid off, find good jobs somewhere else if they can’t stay here,” said Sophomore Tori Michaelian.

  Some people are still holding out hope. In some years, after budget revisions, extra money put into the budget allows the district to hire back its teachers. However, that seems unlikely this year. Even though the governor’s revised plan could add 20 million dollars to the budget, the district plans to use that money to reduce a “50 million dollar deficit projected for the 2018-19 budget” instead of hiring back teachers (sandiegouniontribune.com).

  “It’s very discouraging to our hard-working educators. I lay awake at night worried about what it could mean for them and their families. I have my own ideas about what changes California should make, but for now my role is to carry out public policy and to help lead us through this transition period,” said Olivero.

  This is a terrible situation for everyone. Students are losing their beloved teachers, teachers are losing their jobs, and there’s still going to be a deficit no matter what we do. Unlike with many of our previous editorials, we at The Commander can’t think of a solution here. Maybe the only thing to do is to survive. Study hard, go to college, become educated. Vote for legislation supporting schools. Join school boards and PTSAs to prevent the same thing happening to your kid. Remember the lessons your high school teachers taught you all those years ago, whether they’ve been laid off or not.

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The news site of University City High School
Layoffs of Valuable Teachers are Detrimental to UC