FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
BURLINGAME – Voicing educators' growing concern about proposed public education cuts, the California Teachers Association today launched a statewide radio ad calling on the governor and lawmakers to "stop balancing the budget on the backs of our children."
"It's ironic," CTA President Barbara E. Kerr says in the spot. "Just days after a respected report chastised California for severely underfunding our public schools, the governor proposes a budget that will cut school funding by billions more. And this is on top of the $9.8 billion in cuts that classrooms have already suffered" in the past four years.
The RAND Corp. report released Jan. 3 documented the steep decline of California's education funding over the past few decades. It criticized California for ranking among the lowest in the nation in per-student funding, for having the most overcrowded classrooms and for having some of the lowest paid teachers. According to the study, the average teacher salary is $39,000 when adjusted for cost of living, ranking 32nd in the nation.
The radio commercial features three classroom teachers talking about how large class sizes make it harder to focus attention on every student, how sharing textbooks makes it harder for kids to learn, and how state budget cuts have forced schools to lay off librarians, counselors and other vital school support staff. The ads are running on 56 radio stations, including Spanish- and Asian-language stations.
"We must let the governor and the Legislature know that they've got to stop balancing the budget on the backs of our children," Kerr says in the ad. "It's time for lawmakers to keep their word and provide our schools the resources our kids need to succeed."
In announcing his proposed budget, Gov. Schwarzenegger broke his promise made last year to give schools all the funding they are owed under voter-approved Proposition 98 if they took a $2 billion cut to help balance the budget.
"California voters approved Proposition 98 to guarantee that our public schools received at least minimum funding. Now, the governor wants to ignore the constitutional requirement and go against the will of the people," Kerr said. "Our students deserve a better chance to succeed."