Members of the San Mateo Elementary Teachers Association put empty chairs outside of every school in the district representing staff who will lose their jobs due to budget cuts.
The actions throughout California fell into distinct categories: legislative, every parent, appreciation and allies, revenue, and not business as usual (LEARN). There were gains in every category throughout the state. Below are some highlights.
‘L’ is for Legislative
Fontana and Chaffey teachers association members protested budget cuts at state Sen. Bob Dutton’s office in Rancho Cucamonga. They met with Sen. Dutton’s regional director to discuss budget cuts.
|CTA members pack a hearing of the Senate Education Committee in the Capitol and help defeat three bad bills.|
On May 11, hundreds of CTA members packed a hearing of the Senate Education Committee and testified one after another against legislation that would have harmed teachers. Ironically, this took place on Day of the Teacher before a resolution was read in that committee to honor educators. The two anti-teacher bills that were introduced were SB 266 by Bob Dutton (R-Rancho Cucamonga), which would have allowed districts to hire laid-off teachers as substitutes at a lower per diem rate; and SB 355 by Bob Huff (R-Diamond Bar), which would allow districts to use teacher evaluations to replace seniority and transfer rights. While the bills are dead for this legislative year, they could be resurrected for 2012. Another bill, SB 871 by Sharon Runner (R-Antelope Valley), that would have mandated “no teacher raises if the school year is shortened” was pulled from the calendar beforehand.
‘E’ is for Every Parent
At Audubon Elementary School in Foster City, there were nine empty chairs lined up in front of the principal’s office all during the State of Emergency week as part of an awareness campaign to reach parents. These chairs were a poignant reminder of the nine Audubon school employees who could be gone next year — victims of state budget cuts that are reducing the staffs of thousands of California public schools suffering layoffs. Empty chairs for teachers, administrators and education support professionals who could lose their jobs were also in front of every school in the San Mateo-Foster City School District.
In Walnut Creek there was a news conference on Main Street in front of City Hall on May 10, with a community coalition of parents, teachers, firefighters and East Bay education leaders. Speakers sounded the alarm about dire state cuts being a Main Street issue.
Members from the Fullerton Secondary Teachers Organization, Fullerton Elementary Teachers Association, Buena Park Teachers Association, Brea Olinda Teachers Association and La Habra Education Association took part in a “grade-in” Tuesday, May 10, at the Brea Mall to help members of the public better understand the scope of their out-of-class responsibilities and to give them a focal point to discuss the state budget education shortfall with area citizens.
‘A’ is for Appreciation and Allies
Carol Kocivar, president-elect of the California State PTA, spoke at a Friday rally in San Francisco May 13. She had the following comments to elected officials in Sacramento: “You don’t close the achievement gap by giving our children less and less education. You don’t create a skilled work
|Carol Kocivar, president-elect of California State PTA, at the huge rally in San Francisco.|
force by eliminating the classes our children need just to get into college.”
Members of the Tahoe-Truckee Educators Association made and delivered thank-you notes to public employee association allies on May 11, including nurses, police and firefighters. In addition to expressing gratitude, the notes asked allies to contact their local legislators.
The Corona-Norco Teachers Association held a Teacher Appreciation Day Members’ Fair on May 11 on Mountain View Avenue in Norco. The event featured booths by approximately 40 area businesses and vendors with information, gifts, prizes and food for local educators. There was also a State of Emergency booth with information and resources for helping members and the public get involved with efforts to maintain funding for public schools, including a phone bank opportunity.
‘R’ is for Revenue
On May 12 in Fremont, a town hall/community forum meeting was held regarding the dire need for more school revenues. The meeting was sponsored by the Fremont Unified District Teachers Association (FUDTA) and school district, and held at the district office. Nearly 50 community members turned out for the event held during the State of Emergency week of action.
‘N’ is for NOT Business as Usual
Chapters from Kern County attended a massive Sierra Service Center Day of the Teacher on May 11 at Yokuts Park in Bakersfield with an “Advocacy Row” which included a place for teachers to send letters and make phone calls to legislators on behalf of public education — and also had a
|The Bakersfield Elementary Teachers Association held a rally mourning the death of public education.|
mock graveyard to symbolize the death of public education. On May 12 there was a rally mourning the “death” of public education in Bakersfield attended by 100 teachers, sponsored by the Bakersfield Elementary Teachers Association
, staged at the busiest intersection of town.
More than 100 Manteca educators wore red on May 9, and there were 262 red balloons flying high, one for each Manteca educator who had received a pink slip in this crisis. They stood on the street, and horns of cars passing by honked in support.
Related Tags: Volume 15 Issue 8, Inside Educator, Educator Feature, Educator, Activism, Advocacy, Budget, Cuts, Lawmaker, Layoffs, Organize, Parents, Protest, State Government,