Contact: Robin Swanson at (916) 204-6890
Sacramento -- As students and educators across the state make their voices heard during "American Education Week,” 11/16 – 11/20, the leaders of California’s Education Coalition hosted a press conference on Tuesday to report on the state of public education in California after sustaining an unprecedented $17 billion in statewide budget cuts to public schools. Education Coalition leaders released a report chronicling the impact of the cuts from the perspective of students, teachers and administrators across California.
Below are a few excerpts from the report:
“…On the first day of school, my seat in math was in the far corner and I couldn’t read the board. With the increased class sizes, it takes longer to go through a math lecture since the teacher has to answer more questions. Instead of being able to go over homework quickly and teach the lesson slowly, we spend half of class answering questions, leaving only 20 minutes for the new lesson. In my AP European history my teacher has asked for donations for supplies…”
‐ Stephany Young, 15, Student, Walnut High School, Walnut, CA
“Our math classes are packed to the brim. Our neediest students are in "Algebra A," a course for freshmen who need a two‐year Algebra program. When I started teaching 10 years ago, these were the first programs targeted for 20:1.Now those classes are staffed at 34:1…”
‐ Alison Signorotti, Teacher, Amador County Unified School District
“We have eliminated 80% of our library services…”
‐ Steve Mitrovich, Superintendent, San Carlos School District, Anderson, CA
Although education only represents 40 percent of the state budget, California public schools have been subjected to 60 percent of the cuts.
"American Education Week is traditionally a time to celebrate our public schools and the success of our students. And while our students have made progress—this year unfortunately is marred by the billions of dollars cut from our public schools and the damage being done to the academic future of our kids. It’s not business as usual in our classrooms anymore,” said David A. Sanchez, president of the 325,000-member California Teachers Association. “Class sizes have increased at all grade levels, making it
harder for students to get the individual attention they deserve. It’s time for everyone to stand up for our public schools and make them our state’s top priority.”
"Parents are stepping up as never before to help out our schools. They're volunteering in classrooms, serving on committees and joining PTAs in rising numbers. But they can't make up for ongoing budget cuts," said Jo Loss, president of the California State PTA, which has nearly 1 million members throughout the state. "These cuts undermine all our talk about rising expectations, widening opportunity and closing the achievement gap. Arts instruction, class-size reduction and other programs that are crucial to these goals are being wiped out. It's time to find the leadership and courage to honor our promises to California's children."
“We strive to create a public school system where students can thrive in small class sizes with up-to-date textbooks and state-of-the-art technology, in schools with updated facilities,” said Charles Weis, President of ACSA and Superintendent of Schools for Santa Clara. “But with these historic cuts to public education, our state’s leaders are denying students the basic resources they need to succeed.”
“State funding for community colleges has been slashed by more than 16% at the same time as fees have risen 30% and fewer courses are being offered. The CSU trustees and UC regents are raising the costs of a four year education out of the reach of working families,” said Marty Hittelman, President of the California Federation of Teachers. “Unless our state’s leaders close corporate tax loopholes, generate more revenue and stop trying to balance the budget on the backs of California’s students, we will rob generations of students the quality education they deserve now and into the future.”
“Time and again, voters have said that education should be protected from cuts, and that we should invest in our students and our state’s future,” said Paula S. Campbell, President of the California School Boards Association. “Our students simply cannot sustain further cuts. It’s time for our leaders to focus on real priorities – and for voters to hold those accountable who don’t.”
Read Report "Chronicling the Cuts" and News Reports from Various Media