Thanks for your thoughts Ellen. I also appreciate your sensitivity to this "not coming across the wrong way", because I too have taught in several different schools, at all grade levels (with the exception of college), in both private and public schools, In a couple of special needs schools, and in a couple of different states over the last 13 years. I understand what you are saying, however there are huge inequities within my particular school district and there are a variety of reasons that the visual art budget has not be adequately advocated for over the past 15 years. This is my 3rd year at this school, my first year with tenure in the district, and the last two years the program was completely supported by a state grant. Believe me, we use a lot of recyclables, I teach about found art, folk art, and we use a lot of "junk" to create art, but this is not what a program should be based on due to a lack of funding. This district is in one of the
most expensive places to live in the entire country. We have schools on the "other side" of our district in Malibu where we teach to the children of movie stars, and our superintendent has car and housing stipends attached to his salary (which happens to be one of the largest administrative salaries in the entire los angeles area), that exceed my ENTIRE salary. While I appreciate your sentiment to just "be creative with what we have", my district expects a lot of fantastic product from our program and we teach year long block classes that require consumables. The fact is, the money is there, it simply doesn't trickle down into the classroom and this has gone overlooked due to HIGH turnover in this particular position. I think is also important to consider the importance of standards based art education where your job as a teacher is to teach your content area without trying to figure out how to get the tools to do it. Fundraising is another FULL
TIME job in addition to teaching. For some people this may not be a problem, but for me, I've been there, done that. I need a reasonable, basic budget to buy basic tools, materials, and supplies for the art program and I refuse to spend every waking moment of my life outside of school begging, borrowing, and stealing it. If this email sounds a bit angry, it is in part of the inequities involved within my specific situation, however, I do have to say this viewpoint expressed by a fellow art teacher is also a little unappetizing.
--- On Fri, 10/9/09, play2cre8 <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> From: play2cre8 <email@example.com>
> Subject: Re: [teacherartexchange] Budget survey
> To: "TeacherArtExchange Discussion Group" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> Date: Friday, October 9, 2009, 5:50 AM
> I have $10 per student collected as a
> fee by the school at the
> beginning of the year. Our classroom teachers have a
> budget... $1100/year.... it doesn't change with the number
> of kids.
> (My husband had 20 students last year in a 2/3 class... 13
> this year.)
> And this hasn't changed for years.
> I don't want this to come across the wrong way.. but even
> if I
> couldn't order much - what a challenge. I love
> folk/outsider art and
> have a collection of items I share with the kids.
> Isn't it more of a
> challenge to create with what you have? We made
> animals using
> cardboard from cereal boxes at the beginning of the year -
> and the
> kids had a ball. There is a gentleman not far from here
> that makes the
> most clever toys/sculptures out of everyday object - think
> of Calder's
> circus. Wouldn't creating with what you have be a
> wonderful lesson?
> The quilts of Gee's Bend, Found Art.. paper beads and
> baskets out of
> newspaper and magazines.
> But I have to say - the cardboard and scrap fabric is
> easier to cut
> with good scissors, paint goes on cardboard better with
> good brushes,
> quality glue holds things together.... instructional
> resources make a
> Think about what you need - I think that people
> don't realize there are at least three needs for the art
> room -
> consumables/materials, instructional resources and
> There are things I have to replace every year, somethings
> and sometimes tools/equipment can be more expensive than
> materials. Can you come up with a purchasing plan
> that takes into
> account what you need for this year - and plan what needs
> to be
> replaced and put it on a timeline?
> For my first teaching job I had 1200 students in 4 schools
> K-8 and
> $300... when I got this job I had 300 students and
> $1200. That was 29
> years ago. And I had more support in the first
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