News

Educators on march across state for better school funding

'Only hope for education is to get out in the streeets,' teachers' union says

Two Bay Area educators have embarked on a 260-mile, 48-day march across the state to advocate for reinvestment in public education, budget process reform, and tax reform.

Jenn Laskin, a Watsonville K-12 teacher, and Anna Graves, a retired Berkeley adult education teacher, joined five other core marchers from around the state for the "March for California's Future."

They will be joined by thousands of other individuals along the way, event organizers said.

The march, which started in Bakersfield and will end in Sacramento on April 21, is sponsored by the California Federation of Teachers, which has partnered with a diverse group of organizations representing the faith community, public safety sector, health services, and public education.

"I believe our only hope for education is to get out in the streets and educate people about how we fund public education in California," Laskin said.

Throughout the state, marchers will meet with school boards, city councils, and countless individuals, march spokesman Steve Hopcraft said.

They plan to suggest ways to fix the budget without cutting social services and education, and will collect signatures for a ballot initiative that would require a simple majority to pass the state budget instead of a two-thirds majority.

The marchers were inspired by Cesar Chavez, who in 1966 led a march from Delano, near Bakersfield, to Sacramento to raise awareness of the plight of farm workers.

The marchers are sleeping in churches and schools and plan to highlight programs in communities across the state that have been closed or severely impacted due to budget cuts.

"As educators, we say you can teach them now or you can jail them later," said Hopcraft, whose communications company is representing the marchers. "I regard this as an extraordinary personal commitment on their part."

The marchers will likely encounter some opposition to their ideas along the way.

The Kern County Taxpayers Association has already voiced concerns about a proposed 9.9 percent oil severance tax, which the marchers are promoting as a revenue-generating measure.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger proposed the tax, and the taxpayers association has urged the marchers to drop their support of it.

The march started after a "Day of Action," in which demonstrations were held throughout the state in protest of budget cuts to public education.

Janna Brancolini, Bay Cities News

Comments

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Posted by Parent
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Mar 9, 2010 at 8:42 am

They are trying to "educate people about how we fund education" and I think that's a good idea. They also need to discuss how the money is spent. I know quite a few teachers and administrators and when speaking honestly, talk about how the money isn't spent efficiently in most school districts. I also think the Calif Teachers' Association needs to make concessions/changes that reflect the 2010 reality, not 1980.

I hope their message is heard and the dialogue continues.


Like this comment
Posted by resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 9, 2010 at 8:51 am

Education receives more than 40% of California’s tax revenue and we pay some of the highest taxes in the nation. Frankly we don’t need more money thrown at education and we absolutely do not need more taxes. What we need is a system run with some fiscal responsibility.


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Posted by letsgo
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 9, 2010 at 12:00 pm

"talk about how the money isn't spent efficiently in most school districts"

Very true, but let's look at the problem. In every company there are lots of people looking at ways to spend money more efficiently. There are people whose specific tasks are there. Larger companies put cost savings teams, analyze the information, test the changes, etc.

In a schools this has been a side project because frankly most people would get upset (as seen on these message boards) if a district tried to hire a few people to do full-time efficiency analysis when the money could go to "student facing programs."


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Posted by resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 9, 2010 at 12:51 pm

Respectfully, the reason that cost efficiency is a secondary (if that) concern in school districts and other government services is that there is no urgency to spend any effort on the task. Government runs like a business that cannot fail, because there is no expectation of budget constraint and almost no metrics to judge success.

If high taxes encouraged balanced budgets and responsible spending, California would be the best-run state in the nation!


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Posted by No voice here
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 9, 2010 at 10:32 pm

Companies have 'bosses'. The only bosses in our educational system are the UNION BOSSES....NOT parents, NOT students, NOT principals, teachers however, at least have a vote within their unions for improvements...they just don't use their power for that purpose. They vote for personal goodies, but not for better education. Otherwise they would have DEMANDED their unions go with FIRING BAD TEACHERS EASIER....as condition that could have helped bring millions in federal $$ to CA education.
So teachers are out campaigning and stirring up protest for budget changes to get more money, but not campaigning for better 'education'.
I went to the same old school my Mother attended.....with overflowing toilets and always over 35 well displined kids in the classroom. The excellent teachers had never heard of unions and we learned more in elementary than most kids learn through high school. I wish teachers would just TEACH !! In fact many in the 'greatest generation' learned all they needed in ONE room schools.


Like this comment
Posted by Davis
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 10, 2010 at 9:41 am

At five and a half miles per day, they don’t even walk efficiently!


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Posted by letsgo
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 10, 2010 at 12:28 pm

"In fact many in the 'greatest generation' learned all they needed in ONE room schools."

So which is it, do we need more inovation in education or do we need to go back to the way it used to be done?

I wouldn't mind sending my kids to a one room school, but it would seem sto be challenging to build around 500 school in Pleasanton.


Like this comment
Posted by Howdy
a resident of Ruby Hill
on Mar 10, 2010 at 2:39 pm

Well, howdy doody, I used to have to use an outhouse, walk 5 miles in the snow, sleet, hail, and rain in my bear feet to get to school, and I turned out fine! Heck, we even had 50 kids in the classroom, with 2 kids per desk and 1 pencil. We shure lurned about sharing!


Like this comment
Posted by Howdy
a resident of Ruby Hill
on Mar 10, 2010 at 2:39 pm

Well, howdy doody, I used to have to use an outhouse, walk 5 miles in the snow, sleet, hail, and rain in my bear feet to get to school, and I turned out fine! Heck, we even had 50 kids in the classroom, with 2 kids per desk and 1 pencil. We shure lurned about sharing!


Like this comment
Posted by To the people walking
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 10, 2010 at 3:42 pm

48 days? Wow, they even have to walk slow! I guess that is in line with their job: it takes them 5 days to do something that most in the private sector would get done in a few hours. Then they complain about how much they work: waith a minute, if they were just a little efficient, they would not have to be in the "office" that long.

Walkers: while you go around at a slow pace, you will have the opportunity to talk to many people. Make sure you talk to them about pensions and unions and step and column (automatic raises) - make sure you tell people the root cause of this "crisis"


Like this comment
Posted by Rita
a resident of Downtown
on Mar 10, 2010 at 4:30 pm

Well they will not get lonely because San Ramon is going to send another 136 out to walk with them.


Like this comment
Posted by daisy
a resident of another community
on Mar 11, 2010 at 8:58 am

Get you facts straight folks. These walkers are accomplishing 15 miles per day. They will be stopping along the route and schools and colleges to make there point. It adds up to a 300 mile walk and of course they won't be marching everyday. This is a huge undertaking.
How many of you could accomplish that feat?

And why don't you compare are property tax rates to states with the best rank schools in the nation. We simply don't measure up. The people in those states pay higher taxes for quality education. We can't do that with our property tax rate system as it now exists.

Get real people.

There are 37 million people in this state. We can't keep going they way we are right now. We need to tax oil, raise the vehicle license tax and get rid of the tax loopholes for corporations, but we can't do that because we need a 2/3 vote to pass a fair and reasonable budget. The only state in the nation that uses minority rule to decide the budget. It is simply wrong.


Like this comment
Posted by What we really need
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 11, 2010 at 10:55 am

"There are 37 million people in this state. We can't keep going they way we are right now. We need to tax oil, raise the vehicle license tax and get rid of the tax loopholes for corporations, but we can't do that because we need a 2/3 vote to pass a fair and reasonable budget. The only state in the nation that uses minority rule to decide the budget. It is simply wrong."

What we need is:

1) to stop being the welfare state. Reform the system so people like the famous Octomom cannot continue to take advante of it.

2) Get rid of the 3 point system we got thanks to Davis. The unions are killing the economy

3) Stop allowing illegals in the schools, don't give them free medical services and do not allow them into colleges! Reform immigration and that would save a ton of money. I wonder how many of those 37 million people are illegal?

4) No, the answer is not to lower the percent needed to pass a tax. If they did that you can bet the unions would be all over the place passing ridiculous amounts of taxes just to continue getting their fat checks and automatic raises and ridiculous pensions

I am surprised that some people are still ignorant and/or dumb enough to believe that the answer is more taxes. Haven't you been paying attention? Do you not know about the pensions we are paying and how we are letting people retire very young at the taxpayer expense? Do you not know about the countless illegal students attending our k-12 schools, going to emergency rooms for free, and even getting aid to go to college?


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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