Harsh Realities

By Neal Bridgnell, High School Science Teacher from Gresham, OR

I am a high school science teacher and I have been teaching for 15 years.

Over the years I have seen how serious disinvestment can negatively impact the ability of students to thrive. This most often looks like overcrowded classes, but for some with special needs it be even more harmful.

Most of my classes are between 30–40 students, and sometimes as many as a quarter will have an IEP (Individual Education Plan).

This means they require closer monitoring of academic progress and almost always require an aide. Some years we have enough resources to hire the number of aides we need, but unfortunately, most of the time we do not.

Because we don’t have enough support, our students may only receive a fraction of the attention they need or they may not get help at all. They can never get that time back.

I believe my school is doing the best that we possibly can with what we have, but the harsh reality is that without a dependable budget that will fully fund our schools, this will continue to be a problem.

Our students across the state deserve better, and I hope that this legislative session we can finally find real solutions.

NEAL BRIDGNELL
High School Science Teacher
Gresham School District

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