California Educator

May 2011

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Continue to urge lawmakers to pass the temporary tax extensions in order to prevent further cuts to schools and colleges. Action continues online Alice Mercer, a computer lab teacher at Oak Ridge Elementary in Sacramento, certainly earns the “Social Media Rock Star” award for her dedication to keeping the Twitter hashtag #StateofEmergency presence alive during the week of action. “MizMercer” kept us all updated with her active Twitter feed, regular blog posts, a Flickr photoset, live streaming video and a dedicated YouTube playlist. One memorable post from Alice was about George Sheridan, a first-grade teacher in the Black Oak Mine School District and one of the “Capitol Insiders” who were arrested during the nonviolent protest outside a Republican senator’s office in Sacramento. Alice had done a video interview with Sheridan earlier in the week, asking him why he had decided to join the Capitol protests. Sheridan explained that budget cuts have caused safety issues at his school in the foothills, where he sometimes finds mice and even snakes in his first-grade classroom because the custodian is only able to clean each room every three days. Later in the week, Alice joined the vigil outside the County Jail and talked to Sheridan during a livestream upon his release. You can watch the videos of Sheridan and millions of California students who are be- ing robbed of their future. I refused to step aside while California’s public schools and colleges go without the vital resources they need.” Those who stayed were removed peacefully and spent the night in a Sacra- mento jail. The following day, Friday, May 13, rallies were held throughout the state. Edu- cators traveled far and wide to gather to- gether and collectively insist that education be a state priority. A broad coalition formed to send this message, including parents and other education, community and labor groups. The tune was slightly different — mariachi bands in Los Angeles, a teachers’ rock band in San Francisco, steel drums in San Diego — but when the music stopped, the message was the same: Fund public education. Here’s a look at some of the statewide rallies on Friday the 13th. Sacramento CTA President David A. Sanchez re- ceived a hero’s welcome from the crowd of more than 5,000 people on the South Steps of the state Capitol. “It’s not only been a teachable moment, but we’ve started a new movement for a better aBove: After Republicans released their plan, 28 educators including CTA President David A. Sanchez made a personal decision to refuse to leave the Capitol at closing time unless Republicans kept tax extensions in place. They spent the night in jail. California,” said Sanchez. “It’s going to take us a while to prevail — but we will prevail.” In the Sacramento crowd were family members representing three generations impacted by cuts: Madalyn Gonzales, a business teacher from Edison High School in Stockton who received a pink slip, her daughter Amber Bosch, and her grandchil- dren Trinity, 5, and Kayden, 1. “It’s not just about me getting laid off,” said Gonzales. “I’m worried for Trinity, who will have 40 kids in her first-grade class next year. Kids need their teachers in the classroom. Without teachers, what will happen to kids?” San Francisco Looking out from the rally stage at the crowd of about 3,000 Bay Area educators, stu- dents and parents, CTA Secretary-Treasurer Gail Mendes spoke from the stage in front of San Francisco City Hall about how the head- lines this week were about “waves and waves” of teacher protests across the state. Mendes led the crowd on three solidarity waves, watching the read Alice’s take on the protests at the State Capitol at The growing “netroots” of education activists did an amazing job getting the word out about the State of Emergency our schools are facing. And just think, for many it was as easy as a status update on Facebook! Who knows which of your friends you might influence with yours? Here’s a sample of Twitter posts that chronicled the week of action: @Mads2007 May 12, 10:32am WE ARE ONE, fighting for our schools, our kids, our rights, OUR FUTURE!!!!!!!!!! #StateofEmergency @martinejoelle May 13, 5:24pm Just drove by #stateofemergency CA teachers protest at San Francisco City Hall. Go teachers! @alicemercer May 16, 1:30pm Reminder to those thinking new revenue means we don’t need extensions, it’s $6B and the current shortfall is $15B #stateofemergency by Tiffany Hasker WWW Join CTA on Facebook at Twitter @CATeachersAssoc YouTube: Flickr: MAY 2011 | 11 Photo by Scott Buschman

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