Here’s another grim story that Jefferson County Public Schools and the board of education don’t want you to know: There is a severe shortage of textbooks.
How bad is the shortage? Well, I’m not talking about a handful of kids in each class who have to work out a schedule to share a social studies or math textbook with a reading buddy. There is such a severe shortage of textbooks at three middle schools that students are not allowed to bring their books home for subjects like social studies, math and science. Highland, Myers and Frost are just a few of the schools.
No schedule to take books home and return them the next day.
No take-home books, period. End of story.
Take a quick peak at the tab that lists the failing schools in Jefferson County and you’ll see…. Highland, Myers and Frost are on the list. Surprise!
If you enjoyed school you probably remember reading your school books at home on your bed, studying ahead a little and, here’s a big one, ACTUALLY TAKING A BOOK HOME TO STUDY FOR AN UPCOMING TEST.
At one of those schools the kids aren’t allowed to bring home social studies OR math textbooks. There just aren’t enough books to go around. How few of them are there, you ask? Well, there are enough books for ONE class – that’s about 30 kids. So, one teacher has 30 books to share with four or five periods of instruction. 120 to 150 kids are sharing that set of 30 books. Books are purchased about once every five or six years, by the way.
You can’t have a “sharing” schedule with four or five periods. Think about that one. If 1st period takes the books then 2nd through 5th are without a text book during instructional time. If the last period takes the books, then the 1st through 4th period won’t have books. What a mess.
Is it any wonder that these kids aren’t knocking it out of the park on standardized tests? Their only resources to study at home are their hastily-written notes and maybe a worksheet or two. They get the luxury of studying a worksheet IF the teacher has the money to purchase copier paper – because most schools don’t foot the bill for that anymore either. The claim is that teachers were wasting too much money on copies.
Stunning, isn’t it?
This isn’t really news, though. Most of the schools revoked access to free copier paper several years ago. Teachers have to pay for it or request donations from parents. So much for the teachers union insuring that teachers have access to the supplies they need. There is the occasional principal who realizes this is a really stupid way to save money so a few of them are using discretionary funds to provide copier paper to their faculty and staff. Don’t get your hopes up. There aren’t many of them out there.
I’m sure most of the principals are like mine – she’d rather squander money on catered meals for her staff from Stevens and Stevens than on copier paper. For the record, Sheldon Berman graced our school with his presence for a Stevens and Stevens-catered event. Surprised?
Back to this aggravating textbook situation.
Ask your friends who have kids at Collegiate, St. Agnes, Walden or KCD if their kids have a textbook for every subject. You already know the answer. Before you Google the tuition at those schools, keep in mind that the cost of educating a JCPS student works out to $10,000 per kid. The costs are pretty comparable.
JCPS has a $1 billion budget and a fleet of 1200 school buses. JCPS students have social studies and math scores that are among the worst in the state. Many middle school students (and I’m guessing high school students, too) aren’t allowed to take social studies,science and math textbooks home.
What’s wrong with this picture?