The Wimba Classroom was a neat resource to engage with colleagues and popcorn discussion, share ideas, and collaborate on coursework assignments. After discussion around the guided questions of refining our actionable issue, our group settled on budget cuts as a contributor for further marginalizing the already marginalized student subgroups. We concluded that school/community pride is largely rooted in supplemental programs, such as athletics, and when schools lose funding so too does the school lose opportunities to show and grow pride.
Further, we agreed that in areas of affluence, students whose programs or course options (i.e. world language, CTE, and various electives) are cut or reduced possess the financial resources to solicit private businesses/outside resources for services, whereas, generally speaking, marginalized groups do not. This could be academic tutoring or coursework, athletic opportunities, enrichment initiatives, internships, and so forth. Class sizes also continue to grow due to budget cuts, which only further limits the time and attention the instructor can give to each child’s individual learning needs. In brief, budget cuts promote a wider achievement gap and school officials are expected to do more with less while achieving higher academic benchmarks (i.e. AYP, No Child Left Behind, Accreditation).
The whole notion of school and education being “the great equalizer” is quickly being replaced with being the great divider, in large to budget cuts and a lack of advocacy from governing bodies who ultimately control the purse strings. Our group concluded with conversation, during our Fishbone exercise, as to how school officials are having to get creative with addressing the hurdles that budget cuts have produced for the school and the students (Fishbone exercise attached).