Teacher Appreciation Week 2010 gift idea: adequate funding

Teacher Appreciation Week 2010 started Monday, at a time when America’s public education system is being gutted by budget cuts, and the rest of the world gains ground in an increasingly competitive global environment. Starting in 1984, the Parent Teachers Association (PTA)  set aside the first week in May as Teacher Appreciation Week to celebrate the contribution teachers make to society. In recent years, that contribution has been rewarded by budget cuts, compensation reductions, layoffs and privatization that draws resources away from the public education system. There are plenty of Teacher Appreciation Week gift ideas: fruit baskets, flower bouquets and coffee mugs, etc. But most teachers would probably rather have more pay day cash, job security and adequate education budget.

Education stimulus package spent

As Teacher Appreciation Week 2010 gets underway, state and local tax revenues are declining. Federal money that has been propping up the nation’s education system is running out. The education stimulus package the Obama administration enacted in 2009 directed $100 billion to stem huge education cuts by states, and fund programs for special education,low-income students and early-childhood initiatives. In February, the New York Times reported that studies show many states will spend all or nearly all that is left between now and the end of this school term.

Teacher Appreciation Week 2010 ironies

As the nation observes Teacher Appreciation Week 2010, education funding circles the drain. The education stimulus package included the largest one-time infusion of federal education dollars to states and districts in the nation’s history. The administration trumpeted last fall that the education stimulus package had helped school districts save or create about 250,000 education jobs. A 50-state survey on the stimulus program carried out by the National Conference of State Legislatures found that on average, states allotted 38 percent of their education stimulus package money to the 2008-9 year and 48 percent to the current school year, leaving only 14 percent for the school term that begins this fall.

Teacher Appreciation Week gift ideas

For Teacher Appreciation Week gift ideas, a decent wage and job security is asking a bit much, but there are plenty of thoughtful ways to observe the occasion. Forget about the commercial gift baskets, flower bouquets and coffee mugs. For better Teacher Appreciation Week gift ideas Gather.com suggests writing teachers a thank you letter, stopping by to visit or taking them out to dinner. In this age of budget cuts, most teachers would appreciate gift cards to purchase classroom supplies. Perhaps the greatest Teacher Appreciation Week gift idea is taking a day off work once in a while to volunteer at your child’s school.

Teacher Appreciation Week quotes

Everyone wants quality public education, but no one seems willing to pay for it. The only way to adequately fund public education is to increase taxes. Increasing taxes is a hard sell in this lousy economy. Even with recovery on the horizon, politicians don’t have the guts to make sacrifices for the future. That hasn’t changed for nearly 50 years, when President John F. Kennedy said:

“Modern cynics and skeptics see no harm in paying those to whom they entrust the minds of their children a smaller wage than is paid to those to whom they entrust the care of their plumbing.”

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