May 2019 Advocate: Day of Action for Public Education
Day of Action for Public Education on May 22 in Sacramento
CFT, CTA, and education activists and students from around the state are organizing a Day of Action for Public Education in Sacramento on May 22. Join educators, students, and allies to support our students and protect our neighborhood public schools. We are demanding increased funding for Public Education through progressive taxation, public accountability and control of charter schools, and racial and social justice within and beyond school doors.
Starting at 10 am, meet on the West Side Capitol lawn to join a lobbying group. Midday actions will include a rally at CCSA (California Charter School Association), a march to the Capitol, and filling the rotunda to chant and take an iconic photo & video. At 4:00 pm there will be entertainment and then speakers from 5:00-6:30 pm.
Most public education funding comes from the state
Educator union locals in California negotiate with their school districts over salary, benefits and working conditions. Yet, those districts are financially dependent on the state, which provides 90% of their funding. Since California ranks 43rd in per-pupil funding and 48th in class size nationwide and since districts don’t have the power to raise taxes, local school districts don’t have the funds to meet union demands for the schools their students deserve. We have to go to the state for additional funding.
We need to tax corporations and billionaires to pay for high-quality public education
Even though California is the 5th largest economy in the world, it has never recovered from the passage of Proposition 13 in 1978, which sharply reduced commercial and residential property tax contributions to fund public education and other social services. The Schools and Communities First initiative, which has qualified for the November 2020 ballot, would eliminate an unfair corporate property tax loophole and raise $11 billion annually for schools, community colleges, and vital community services. The legislature is now considering two funding bills — SB 37 which would bring in an additional $5 billion annually for pre-K, K-12, and communities colleges by raising taxes on the most profitable corporations, and AB 39 which would bring California up to the national average of adjusted per pupil spending.
Charter Schools Need to Play by the Same Rules
The unregulated growth of corporate charter schools by billionaires has been draining resources from our neighborhood public schools for many years. In response to the widespread public outcry over charters, four important bills are now being considered by the legislature (AB 1505, AB 1506, AB 1507, SB 756) which would give local districts sole authority over charter school authorizations, allow districts to consider economic and educational impact on students in neighboring public schools, establish a cap on the growth of charter schools, prevent charters from operating outside the district that authorized them, and place a 5-year moratorium on new charter schools unless reforms are passed by January 1, 2020.
Only Collective Action Gets the Goods!
In 2018 and 2019, the incredible strikes of teachers in West Virginia, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Arizona, Denver, Washington, Los Angeles, and Oakland demonstrated once again the power of mass labor action. This #RedForEd movement is taking on the twin enemies of public education: pervasive underfunding and privatization. A new Governor and legislature are in office, preparing to sign into law an annual budget and, potentially, charter school and funding bills. Let’s come together in Sacramento — educators, students, and communities — in this historic fight to ensure education for all over profits for a few.