Alaskans need to fund our schools more, not less. Even with the $20 million the Legislature funded last year for education, Juneau schools need to cut teachers next year due to flat funding. Any additional cuts will increase our children’s class sizes and teachers’ workloads to beyond manageable.
As a Spanish teacher at Dzantik’i Heeni Middle School, I have watched my class sizes grow incrementally each year. My sixth grade classes now average 34 students. My colleague has 46 sixth graders in one class, another has 40 and another has 38. Even without additional cuts, DHMS still stands to lose two full-time positions next year. Where will those students go? Into even larger classes, right as students are transitioning into a larger school during one of the most difficult times of their lives.
Due to flat funding, the Spanish program at DHMS also stands to be cut. This hurts students because learning a second language is incredibly important. People who learn a second language are more successful and excel in other subjects. Students in other states and countries are learning a second language, and our students will be less competitive nationally and worldwide.
Gov. Mike Dunleavy has proposed a $300 million cut to education, cutting 100 teachers from Juneau schools. I assume he proposed this so we will be satisfied with a compromise. A compromise is inadequate. Additional cuts will result in unmanageable class sizes and cause more good teachers to leave the profession. Students will suffer from teacher turnover, and our children and societies will pay the price.
• My Turns and Letters to the Editor represent the view of the author, not the view of the Juneau Empire.