Waking up to the headline that the Dow has plunged to its lowest level since the housing bust of 2008, I’ve been reminded a few more times today just how much the poor economy and budget cuts are hitting closer and closer to home.
I went to my daughter’s kindergarten meet and greet at our neighborhood park this morning. When my oldest son was in kindergarten 4 years ago there were 4 classes, with only 18 kids in his class. When my second son started kindergarten 2 years ago there were 3 classes and plenty of whispers that the teachers would need lots of help because the classes would have (gasp) 24 kids that year.
So this year I knew there would only be 2 kindergarten classes, an am and a pm, and I assumed it was because enrollment is down. We live on the older side of town where the homes are 20 years old and many of our neighbors have teens or are retired.
But I learned there are actually 64 incoming kindergartners and that the classes will have 30+ kids each and they can’t hire another teacher. I am deeply concerned about all of the kids in those classes. Sure the teachers are great and extremely experienced, but we’re talking 30 or more 5 and 6-year-olds and one teacher? I think it’s easier to have those numbers when the kids are older, if we have to go there at all. When I was a high school teacher and had 30 kids in a class it was easier to employ classroom management with a bunch of almost young adults. Even so, the 2 schools where I taught were still cautious to have only 24 9th graders in a class, since it was such a transition year for them.
Just as I was wrapping my brain around what’s to come in my daughter’s classroom, the kids and I went to our local Trader Joe’s. I did a double take to see a clean cut Dad with his two children next to him holding a sign that read “Please, out of work. Have 3 kids. Any amount will help.”
I’ve tried to stay optimistic about the state of things, but today made me realize how many children and families need help NOW.