Contact: Frank Wells (562) 884-3938
Los Angeles – Award-Winning teachers and concerned parents today called on Governor Schwarzenegger to take down his website soliciting "anti-teacher" stories and to stop his "witch hunt" of California's educators. The teachers and parents asked the Governor to stop his attacks, and start addressing the real problems facing our schools.
"California Teachers and concerned parents and community members were shocked and angered, when after breaking his word and cutting billions of dollars owed our schools, the Governor tried to deflect attention by blaming classroom teachers for the problems schools face," said David A. Sanchez, Vice President of the California Teachers Association. "First he did it by putting Proposition 74, the 'Blame Teachers Act,' on the ballot, and now he's conducting a witch-hunt against teachers on his own website."
The Alliance for a Better California is responding by posting a blog feature on its own website, http://www.betterca.com/ in order to make the dialogue more positive and productive, calling for stories about teachers who have made a real difference in their students' lives.
"I was very disappointed to learn of the governor's website asking for stories attacking teachers. We should be encouraging and praising teachers, not tearing them down," said Kim Labinger, a 4th grade teacher at Edison Elementary School in Glendale and California State Teacher of the Year for 2005. "I would urge the public to respond to the Alliance website and take time to let the world know about an outstanding teacher in your or your child's life. And I ask the Governor to stop his attacks and start working on real reforms."
Although the Governor promised to work on real reforms to education, he has instead called a wasteful special election to promote measures on the ballot that will slash school funding by nearly $4 billion a year and drive teachers out of the profession in our state, hurting our schools and our students.
Proposition 74 would deny teachers the right to "due process," during their first 5 years of teaching, so that teachers can be fired without being given a chance to defend themselves.
"Proposition 74 will discourage teachers from entering the profession," said Roberta Patterson, teacher at Millikan High School in Long Beach and 2001 LA County Teacher of the Year, and 2005 Disney Teacher for Arts Education. "I'm sure many people would think twice before committing to a minimum of five years university training and then five full years of work before they even have to have a reason to let you go. That's a ten year investment that could go down the drain on the whim of an administrator."
Over the next 10 years California will need 100,000 new teachers.
"As a parent, I want my children to go to schools with the best teachers, reasonable class sizes, and updated textbooks and materials," said Zeetta Williams, a local parent. "The Governor's attacks on teachers, whether through his initiatives or on his website, need to stop now. Governor, stop playing politics with my children's education."
Los Angeles school teacher Linda Tubach is a national award winner for fostering labor relations, and told the news conference that, "Proposition 74 undermines teacher morale and trust between teachers and administrators. It takes us in the wrong direction. That's why teachers, school board members and school superintendents all oppose it. Prop. 74 is destructive, and replaces cooperation with conflict. I urge a No vote."
The CTA is affiliated with the 2.7 million-member National Education Association.