FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
BURLINGAME – California's public schools aren't combat zones and the governor's latest comments about "combat pay" for teachers are not only insulting, but also show he has no understanding of what our schools need to succeed, California Teachers Association President Barbara E. Kerr said today.
"The governor's comments make it seem like these schools are war zones, and that's insulting and degrading to our kids, teachers and their communities," Kerr said. "He is out of touch with what our students need."
Governor Schwarzenegger fails to grasp that pay is only one part of the picture for our schools of greatest need, Kerr said. "Instead of addressing the state's education funding crisis and keeping his promises to fully fund our school system, the governor is wasting time on a political agenda that won't help improve our schools one bit. To attract quality teachers to these schools, we need smaller class sizes, adequate textbooks, and clean and safe learning environments."
Meanwhile, California ranks 44th in the nation in per-pupil funding and is spending more than $600 below the national average per student, according to Education Week and RAND Corp. reports released in January. Teachers across the state are united in opposing the governor's political agenda of attacking due process rights for educators, breaking his promise to fully fund education, and destroying current education funding guarantees in voter-approved Proposition 98.
"His merit pay initiative is doomed," Kerr said. "His broken promises on funding and his spending cap proposal to weaken Proposition 98 would mean $25,000 less for every classroom in this state. That's not reform, that's hurting our students and schools."