Furlough Day

Conveniently, my long weekend is extra long. Granted, to me it feels like an eternity – slowly, my “list” for this weekend has crashed and burned, and my mostly – but not completely – self-imposed quarantine has had me at home all weekend. By the end of Saturday, just about all of the fun things I had planned to counterbalance cleaning and homework had hit a snag, and I was left with a list of chores and annoyance.

Still, I’ve done most of it. Just a little bit more homework and I’m set (okay, fine, yes, I’ve only done a single piece of my homework. I’m a slacker, mkay?)

But other than that, I wanted to make a point that goes against most of what I’ve been hearing lately. Maybe it’s just because I’m in teacher education classes, but everyone seems to be up in arms about furlough days. I can’t say that my experience with the whole situation is the same for everyone in a college of 15,000, but here’s my perspective on it.

A little background: because the state budget slashed its funding of all CSUs, Chico State had to make a lot of cuts. This included reducing the numbers of classes, upping class sizes, hiking tuition, and creating mandatory furlough days. There are 3 campus-wide furlough days, where all parts of the campus shut down completely, and each professor chooses 6 “floating” furlough days when they may not hold class, be in their office, answer emails, or work in any way.

I’d like to point out that a lot of the complaints that I have, and have heard from others, is that there is a lot of busywork in classes. It seems like a lot of the fat has been trimmed from my classes, and that instead of lots of random “why are we even doing this?” projects, the professors have been forced to narrow down more of what the core of what they’re trying to teach us is. I’m sure there are some classes where this is not the case, where the professor had to cut out some things that would be beneficial for the students, but what I’m trying to point out is that losing days from a class doesn’t mean that we suddenly don’t get anything from the class anymore.

A big part of my annoyance with this is how it’s been handled. As a teacher education student, and future teacher, I think the whole situation sets a dangerous precedent for public education as a whole; I certainly don’t want to see this sort of thing trickle down into primary education. But I don’t try to mask that as my opinion as a student, it’s a concern I have about my profession, and it is very self-interested. Listening to my peers and professors rally against furlough days with their sole expressed concern as that for the students, it seems like there’s a huge elephant in the room.

Maybe if in my education classes we talked about what the ramifications might be if we had to work in a situation like this and what we could do to make our classrooms better, or if professors at least admitted “Yes, this is a paycut to me. But it’s more than that…” I would feel more comfortable with it. But as it is I just find it annoying and self-serving.

My last reason is the biggest one for me. The Orion posted a pie chart showing where the money to make up the CSUC deficit came from – all of the actions I listed at the beginning. Almost half of that pie was in furlough days, and only a quarter or less was from tuition increases (I looked for the graph on the website to post, but couldn’t find it). So if it’s a choice between taking some days off, or having had my fees go up another $1200 on top of the $600 fee hikes, I’ll take furloughs any day. It’s stereotypical, but true – a lot of us college kids are just making it. An increase like that would boot a lot of people out, or cause us to go into much more debt.

I’m okay having a couple more days to sleep in and write annoyingly long blogs, thank you.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. NonCharon
    Sep 08, 2009 @ 16:49:32

    My that was long and annoying… and pretty well thought out and expressed.

    Good job looking at the situation from several different perspectives. Most situations are too complicated to only have positive *or* negative aspects. Most do have a bit of both. You’d be surprised how many people can’t see any true validity in anything but the position that represents their own vested interests.

    Modernism gave us the ability to deconstruct others. Postmodernism (oversimplified) came when we began to deconstruct ourselves.


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