Contact: Dina Martin at 650-552-5491
BURLINGAME – California’s students – the real victims of state budget cuts – are speaking out about what it’s like to be students in the age of cutbacks in the May issue of the California Educator, the magazine of the California Teachers Association.
“We always hear from teachers about the devastating consequences of budget cuts on our schools, but these real-life stories from California students get to the heart of who is really hurt by budget cuts. They offer compelling testimony on the urgent need to prevent deeper cuts to education by voting ‘Yes’ on all propositions in the May 19 special election,” said David A. Sanchez, said CTA president.
The story, “Doesn’t Our Education Matter?” is posted on the CTA website. It looks at budget cuts through the eyes of students in elementary school through college, and how being a victim of budget cuts affects students’ view of school, learning and the world. Some of them question whether society or government really cares about them since they attend overcrowded schools that lack the basics.
Says one Madera high school student: “When you have students in a larger class it’s kind of guaranteed that they are going to talk. In smaller classes students listen to the teacher more. But in a larger class, when someone is disrupting, other students start to think it’s OK and they start talking too. Even me sometimes.”
A fifth-grade student in La Puente worries: “I heard that they will take teachers away. I’m worried because I have a very good teacher, Mrs. Gomez. She said she might be going away next year. I think that it’s not fair … Sometimes I think we’re getting picked on. Maybe it’s because we are a poor school that they’re picking on us and taking things away.”
And an eighth-grade student in Moreno Valley expresses his disappointment: “I love football, so I felt disappointed when they canceled it this year. For a lot of my friends, it was all they had; football was how they kept their grades up. Now their grades are lower. Some of them say, ‘I’ve stopped being competitive anymore.’ The excitement level of our school went down once sports left.”
Other students featured attend some of the following public schools:
- A campus in Oakland where a culinary program lacks a kitchen and students use a portable gas range;
- A school in La Puente where there is not enough money to purchase paper, pencils, pens or other basic supplies;
- A college campus where tuition is being raised, but class selection is being cut, resulting in students needing more time to graduate. Also, administration can’t afford to furnish a recently built library;
- A high school in Saddleback Valley where counselors are being cut;
In other articles in the May issue, the California Educator describes how a successful dropout prevention and recovery program in Los Angeles Unified School District is being eliminated for lack of funding; how adult education and vocational programs are on the chopping block due to the brand-new “Tier III” category created in the newest budget agreement; and how school classified employees may be receiving pink slips at an alarming rate.