In my opinion, rosebushes and educational programs and services have much in common.
With proper nourishment and care, they result in flowers and students that bloom into something wonderful for all to enjoy.
Neglected, flowers and students fail to reach their potential, with many buds either barely blooming or not at all.
So, what is the forecast for 2009?
This month, efforts to achieve a balanced state budget in Sacramento will result in less revenue to public education, including the Fallbrook Union High School District. This means some pruning will have to occur.
I find it amazing how pruning roses in the winter typically results in stronger, healthier bushes and flowers during the spring and summer.
While it is not always easy to remove stems that were once strong and vibrant, the future success of the rose requires such action.
As budget cuts are being contemplated, our district will need to determine which programs and services will produce the greatest future health of the district.
Pruning the district’s budget will mean that some valuable programs and services, and the people who provide them, may not be able to continue.
There will certainly be strong opinions expressed about which healthy stems should remain and which should be pruned.
But, while roses should be pruned annually, such should not be the case in education.
The growing cycle of roses should include annual pruning. Pruning education annually is not healthy for students.
The reality for today’s students is that education continues to be pruned, with the result being fewer programs and services.
Unfortunately, there is much evidence that the adverse impact of the state’s fiscal crisis will result in consequences much more serious than simply pruning.
It presently appears that educators will be asked (expected) to provide quality learning opportunities for students with many of the necessary ingredients missing.
When roses are pruned and have proper amounts of water, sunshine and nutrients, they flourish.
Pruning roses, and then neglecting them by providing inadequate nourishment, does not result in a healthy bush or roses. The same can be said of education and students.
Here is one last rose analogy for consideration. The success of the rose is typically not tied to the caretaker. Regardless of who the caretaker is, proper pruning and providing of nutrients results in healthy roses.
While we are blessed in Fallbrook because many of our parents, community members and organizations have invested in our schools, perhaps locally we need to be even more involved, to the extent of becoming the primary caretaker.
Our students will require more of our time, energy and attention if they are to grow and flourish as much as we desire.