The Keystone State Education Coalition maintains a blog that discusses current topics related to the PA state budget impasse. With no state budget, schools have not received the additional funding that they rely on to operate. Schools are beginning to make plans for potential closure. Pensions and reimbursement for students that attend charter schools are mentioned as big contributors to the financial crisis in many districts.
As a teacher in Pennsylvania, I am concerned with how the budget impasse will impact my future in education and specifically, how the public views teachers. Unfortunately, I’ve seen many people talking negatively about teachers in the last few years. Every time that a district raises taxes, constituents are asked to question the importance of education and the role of teachers. Several districts throughout the Lehigh Valley, where I work, have recently negotiated new contracts for their teachers. It was upsetting to read some of the reaction to the negotiations from taxpaying members of those districts. I fear that the public does not understand the role and responsibilities of a teacher and with schools considering taking loans to keep their doors open until the budget impasse is resolved, I fear a backlash against teachers.
The question is… Does the public understand the roles and responsibilities of teachers or will their be a backlash if school districts begin to take loans and/or raise taxes significantly to make up for the lack of state funding?