When I started teaching in 1989 we had a school nurse. When children didn’t feel well or had itchy heads, bumped their heads hard, had to take medicine or just needed some extra attention they might go visit the school nurse. Now they have to visit the secretaries in the office who are busy answering phones, reporting to the state, ordering supplies, filing, typing, writing letters, recording attendance, checking on absences and writing bus notes. When I started teaching my classroom got cleaned every day. It was moped, vacuumed, the sinks were cleaned, doorknobs and windows were cleaned and even tabletops were cleaned. Now my floors get done twice a week, trash gets taken out and I do the rest. Part of my lunch duty includes sweeping the floors and moping up spills. Just a few years ago our school had a full time school counselor. Now when a tragedy happens I am left to deal with it on my own with the help of my principal. We have lost our librarian and physical education teacher both who have been replaced by educational assistants. Our music program was cut 5 years ago and field trips were limited. In our school and many others class sizes have soured.
What can we do? All of these cuts were caused by the lack of funds Oregon schools receive to run their schools. We can wring our hands, and fret over the things that are lacking. We can ‘make do’, as is our way. Or we can say that we need to make a change. We can do better. Money is the issue.
We need to find a way to bring more money to the students of Oregon. The students deserve a school counselor, they deserve music and art, they deserve more attention in smaller classes, they deserve those things and so much more! They deserve to have options and choice in high school electives and they deserve the kinds of technology that will help our country compete on an international level. So, if more money is the answer, where will it come from? Do you have an extra thousand dollars you want to donate to the cause? No? Neither do I. But did you know that corporations doing business in Oregon pay less than corporations doing business in any other state in the United States? They are paying a minimum of $150 in taxes every year…. I don’t know about you but I pay almost that much in taxes every month!
Isn’t it time for big corporations to pay their fair share to the students of Oregon? The beauty of this is that the money raised by increasing corporate taxes on businesses that do over $25,000,000 of business in Oregon a year would benefit seniors, students and health care… And when we say health care we are also saying mental health. Do you want to make Oregon the best it can be…. A first start is the Better Oregon Campaign!