A recent story-line in Jan Eliot’s Stone Soup has upset teachers from around the country. According to the Register Guard (Eugene, OR) three strips touched up on teacher furloughs and Jan’s view that they cheat students out of classroom time. Many teachers felt that the commentary was an attack on teachers by the way the strip (see below) was worded. They felt Jan was implying teachers were getting something positive – like a benefit.
From her blog, Jan makes it clear:
Believe me, when I put “Furlough Days” in my strip, I was not attacking teachers. “How many furlough days do they get?” refers to the kids being home, not to teachers “getting” something.
I live in Oregon, where education funding has reached a crisis state. Furlough days have been instated because the schools cannot afford to operate. Our kids are missing valuable education time because the money is not available to keep the schools open. One of our districts will be operating only four days a week for the rest of the school year.
Some readers have interpreted my intent as a way to slam teachers. It couldn?t be farther from the truth. Our schools are expected not only to educate our kids, but manage a large variety of complex social ills. They cannot perform either function at current funding levels.
Furlough days do not equal teacher prep or vacation days? they equal a failure to responsibly educate kids, a failure brought on by a complex set of issues that include inadequate funding.