Contributing editors: Sherry Posnick-Goodwin, Frank Wells, Bill Guy, Mike Myslinski
Greer Elementary teachers Tina Casanova and Carrie Sanchez rally the troops at the Sacramento event.
Friday, March 13, marked an extraordinary day in California’s history as the number of RIF (reduction in force) notices sent to educators topped 27,000 — more than twice the number of pink slips given out during last year’s horrific budget crunch. This year’s layoffs threaten to have a devastating effect on California public education and students for years to come.
At hundreds of Pink Friday events up and down the state, members, parents and students stood up for schools, wearing pink to show their solidarity and opposition to the cuts. In Sacramento, the Capitol building was lit up in pink in support of educators.
“All of us know when an educator loses his or her job, the students are the ones who suffer most,” said CTA President David A. Sanchez at a press conference. “It was the layoff notices that were the inspiration for Pink Friday, CTA’s statewide day of action.”
Members commiserated with one another at Pink Friday rallies and shared stories about the widespread cuts, which threaten to greatly diminish the pool of educators newest to the profession — and have gone even deeper in some cases, reaching veteran educators like Art McGaw of the Millbrae Education Association, who has taught music to thousands of students in San Mateo County for 25 years.
“Art received a pink slip this year,” said Sanchez. “He knows that music is part of a well-rounded education. When he leaves, the entire music program will be cut. For 400 Millbrae students next year, the music will not go on.”
Organization of the Pink Friday rallies was aided by the CTA-sponsored website www.pinkfriday09.org, which assisted members in mobilizing fellow educators and the community through blog postings and announcements of event details. Over 3,500 members joined the social networking site, making it an incredibly important resource for sharing information and planning events.
The energy created by Pink Friday is now fueling CTA’s campaign to engage voters regarding the May 19 election.
“A tremendous public interest has been generated by the activities that took place on Pink Friday,” says Sanchez. “To make this budget work — to prevent deeper cuts to schools, colleges, health care and other vital programs, and to get beyond the partisan gridlock in Sacramento — California voters must approve a package of initiatives in a special election on May 19. This is a very complicated budget package with six intertwined ballot initiatives that must all pass in unison. Let’s continue with our Pink Friday momentum and raise awareness across the state to pass the initiatives on the May 19 ballot to save our schools and colleges from deeper cuts.” (See more information about the initiatives.)
In the pages that follow, you’ll read about the widespread Pink Friday events and the people who stood up for schools — like Fremont teacher Matthew Ballin, who wrote an original song about the cuts and performed with his guitar at a rally, or the parents in Anaheim who joined teachers at a rally before school and continued to rally after the teachers had to leave to attend to their teaching responsibilities. All of the Pink Friday stories show that Californians do understand the plight of our educators and the necessity of making quality public education available for all of our children.
Related Tags: Volume 13 Issue 7, Educator, Inside Educator, Educator Feature, Layoffs, Jobs, Member, Protest, Parents, Student, Teacher,