Well, I’ve been hit with Geeky Momma’s Wordle meme thanks to friend Kevin Jarrett! I guess it’s time to start writing again. Until, I have the time to sit-n-write, here’s what my feed looks like from Wordle. Why not make one of your own?
…Goes well with convos about Scholarship and Blogging as action research.
Measured objectively, what a man can wrest from Truth by passionate striving is utterly infinitesimal. But the striving frees us from the bonds of the self and makes us comrades of those who are the best and the greatest.
Today we received confirmation of the biggest helping of FUD (Fear, Uncertainty & Doubt) in recent memory. Thanks to the impending (growing IMHO) recession, we received email from our superintendenet today which included the following:
“Today I met with our Principals and District Office Administration to discuss the impact of Governor Schwarzenegger*s proposed budget, which was announced last week. The Governor has proposed sweeping cuts, most severely effecting education. Due to the fact that education comprises the largest portion of the state budget, it is the hardest hit when it comes to budget cuts.
What this means to our school district is that we must reduce a minimum of $819,000 from our current budget, and a minimum of $10,000,000 in 2008/09. Inevitably this will impact our schools, our classrooms, our programs, our teachers, our staff, and most importantly our students.
Today I announced to our Administration that the following actions will be effective immediately: Hiring freeze for all positions Purchasing freeze for all items other than basic classroom supplies and health or safety essentials No travel or conference expenditures which have not already been paid for No classroom substitutes for professional development or curriculum development Freeze on *one-time* 2007/08 money from the state
No funding of field trips or assemblies from the General Fund or Categorical dollars Reduce costs where possible such as conserving utilities”
My heart goes out to our (2 years new) superintendent who has thus far done a tremendous job in a difficult position, and who has been supportive of me personally with regards to Second Life and my professional growth. She had planned a new position for a technology lead and six trainers in the district (we now have none), and that clearly can’t happen; as a result, I have volunteered personal time to help with tech at the district level in any way I can. Also, I have been told that every administrator in the district will be pink-slipped. How is it that the state of California, which has the fourth largest economy in the world, can get itself in such an outrageous financial bind? Not only do we have a huge economy, we are 43rd in per student spending in the country. WHY WHY WHY???
What does this have to do with Second Life? Well, my first professional presentations ever are about Second Life, first at the CUE Conference in Palm Springs in March which my site was going to pay for, and then again at NECC in San Antonio where my airfare was to be paid by the district (I will be covering the rest). Additionally, I was asked to present to the Gifted Student Council and the School Board in hopes of piloting an eighth grade program for the next school year.
So where does that leave me? Up in the air I guess. I will try to use air mileage from my husband to get to San Antonio in June, and will have to use sick days and pay the $800.00+ for the four night hotel stay in Palm Springs in March. This after having paid entirely out of pocket to attend NECC last year in Atlanta.
“Hey brother, can you spare a dime?” takes on a whole new meaning in light of what’s happening to our economy right now. Based on what the DOW did this morning, and Yahoo’s rumored cutting of 700-1400 jobs, I’m inclined to think we’re heading into a depression rather than a recession -at least in the state of California.
The most pathetic part of the whole thing? The kids lose -again 😦
Last night we had an informal get-together at the Potlach Commons on Edu Island II. It was meant to be for CAVE members, and anyone else who should happen by to join the conversation. Well, what happens when you throw a party and no one comes? You have a party anyway -someone always shows up! That is exactly what happened last night. I discovered that Existential Paine, an SL acquaintance, has thrown in the proverbial towel. That is to say, he no longer sees the current value of SL for education.
I was upset by that information, and upon reflection I realize why. It is not so much that he has changed his mind about SL’s possible use in the classroom, but that he will be missed as a part of the educational community there. I never got to know him all that well, but it seems to me that he splintered from the very group he founded, as well as many of the people connected to it. Nevertheless, Exis will be missed, and the “affinity group” of which he was part, will be affected by the loss of his insight and opinions.
That said, we went on to have a great conversation that KJ very eloquently blogged about, but here I’d like to share the comment I made on “Story of my Second Life”. For whatever it’s worth, I believe it is the greatest strength of SL at the moment.
I have noticed, that you have a talent for bringing people together, and adding insight and direction in your writing and conversation. You are often able to illuminate the “big picture” for those of us who sometimes become stuck in the minutiae of the moment. You ask the right questions in conversation, and do it in a way that causes no pain to the participants. In fact, I think that you offer many of us fodder for reflection, which makes us all learn and grow -and sometimes stretch a bit as well. This is a real gift, one that many people including me have benefited from in SL and outside of SL.
I have certainly revised my take on the uses of SL for education, mostly for all of the reasons some of our SL acquaintances have jettisoned altogether. I think that for many of us, we can envision more Ramapo Islands-type of work being done, but also understand that presently, that is out of reach for most of us. However, I see the education community in SL as being the strongest, most diverse collegial group, of which I have ever been a part. What I have learned about education and SL in the last four months is staggering in its breadth, and maybe because I am “just” another classroom teacher -not working on a doctorate, not on a fast track to a district office, not a blogger of renown, not a PD specialist or technology coordinator, I value the learning and friendships that SL has afforded me immensely.
I am blessed and proud to call you and Victoria friends, and to work and explore with you, for as long as we don’t run into a dip, a curve, or a cliff. And if those obstacles should appear in our paths, I know that we three will be together, and that will make all the difference.