Numbers in Schools

Today, my students completed their AIMS (Arizona’s Instrument to Measure Standards) exam. It was a quiet morning in the halls as students hunched over their desks with the intense sound of #2 pencils on paper. Teachers monitored with the watchful eyes of prison guards, and later gathered and talked about the students’ ability to meet, and hopefully exceed, the standards.

I’m not sure what to write this evening. It’s a tough time to be a teacher in most schools, especially the public school system. We are concerned about our students’ abilities to pass exams, keeping our jobs, and making due with less money for resources. Normally, I think most of us begin to prepare for the end of a school year while passing along the juicy whispers of who’s leaving and staying. Those stories often include the teacher’s reason(s), which usually are personal choice. But it seems more likely that the school has to let go of teachers and personal choice is not a factor.

So, I should connect these ideas. Less teachers, more students, and less resources to meet or exceed state exams that determine AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress). How will the students do it? (Especially in high-needs schools) There is so much emphasis to increase learning and achievement, but less money and resources to meet it. It’s insane and defies logic!

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about a former teacher who plans to retire after forty years in the classroom. I think it will become rare for a teacher to stay that long in the profession with the current state of education. Who would want to stay in a system that literally abuses them? It’s sad, very sad because it’s people who lose – our students are people, teachers are people, not just numbers. We are people who ask for the basic need to be respected and supported.

Where do we go from here? I’m not sure.  


Delyssa Begay

DeLyssa Begay

Many Farms, Arizona

I belong to the Black Sheep People. My clan is my mother’s, and my father’s is One-Who-Walks-Around People. I am granddaughter to the Bitter Water and Red-Streak-into-Running Water Peoples. That’s mouthful, but it is my identity.

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