Our school system could benefit from a lot of things. Old, decrepit buildings need repairs and shiny new buildings need basic supplies. We have students with multiple disabilities who need adaptive equipment and gifted students who need advanced tools and information. Maybe our new Super would like to put his STEM high school in a poverty stricken community to access the stimulus money.
We can keep putting buckets under leaky roofs and porta-potties at schools with only one functioning bathroom. We can sit on floors when we don’t have enough chairs. We can continue sharing books and technology. We can fill the hallways with parent volunteers and we can hold an endless stream of fundraisers. What we can’t replace are teachers. Without teachers, there is no school.
What if we put a handful more teachers in each and every school? There would be more class options for high school students. Classes would have smaller teacher-student ratios. Team teaching and individual help would be the norm instead of the exception. Students wouldn’t fall through the cracks as easily when they are under the watchful eye of a teacher who isn’t completely overwhelmed and exhausted.
I am probably very alone in imagining the stimulus money spent on teacher salaries. This money will only exist for two years. It is nearly impossible to have the budget to keep these extra teachers after the two years of extra funding. I still think that the two years of benefits would make the risk of spending money on something other than supplies worthwhile.