End in Sight
An end is also in sight for my time at my current job. I have promised to stay on one more year, then I will be partnering with my psychologist friend to start our business in psychoeducational testing and services. I had explored going back to college, but decided against it because of a few things. Let's face it, I'm not getting any younger and I'd be approaching 40 by the time I got my Ph.D.. Also, do I really need to get myself into yet more debt by taking out another student loan? At this point, I am happy that my friend and I are moving on with plans - she has been looking at office space to rent, we both are in the process of getting our professional licenses and liability insurance activated, and coming up with a detailed business plan so that we have a clear idea of what is needed to get started. Of course, it will be imperative that we use this year to make contacts and connections to start our networking. There is so much to think about, and I was afraid to start, but like H pointed out - what have I got to lose?
There has been a lot of things happen lately to cement what I already knew - that public education is a sinking ship. I won't be stuck on that boat. My frustration level has increased proportionately with the increasing number of pushy parents who are demanding far more than what is reasonable. It is also disheartening to see public opinion polls showing such a high disapproval rating for education, but such a low number of them willing to increase taxes in order to improve the system (because, I guess to them, money for educational improvements is supposed to fall from the sky). I realize why this happens - the public has no idea how much it costs to educate just one child. I don't think they realize where their current taxes are going and see wastefulness in the public school system. Another trend that is happening in our district, which I'm sure is not unusual in California, is that while our overall enrollment is decreasing, our special eduation numbers are increasing, which means that the costs go up because of special programming. Additionally, in states like California and Texas (border states), there is a high Hispanic population. Whether or not they are here legally, just as much money is spent on educating students of families who are here illegally (families that are not paying taxes to help the system from which they are receiving benefits). Add to that the fact that any kind of rational measures to curb the "high profile" parents' demands of a "Cadillac Education" costs way more in legal expenses than just giving in to their demands. With all of these factors, I don't see how the public school system can even maintain their current level of functioning - quality of education will decrease (not just because of higher caseloads, but because good educators will leave), funds will decrease, and these special cases and money spent on lawyers will continue to rise.
It's hard for me to leave a system like this in search for something better. Part of me feels guilty - that I didn't do enough to help instigate change. Then again, I am one person and I've always done the best job that I could for my students with the limited resources I've been given. But, that's not enough anymore. What it comes down to is that I need to be in a position where I feel like there is a real chance to impact people's lives. I'm looking forward to the chance to do just that.