Issue link: http://digital.copcomm.com/i/85441
2012 ELECTION SPECIAL | ADVOCACY IN ACTION San Francisco educators mobilize It's about the kids and family Story and Photo by Matthew Hardy Montebello's Guillermo Sandoval: Doing all he can to prevent bad things from happening By Frank Wells GUILLERMO SANDOVAL LO VES being a high school Spanish teacher and enjoys being the Montebello Teachers Association treasurer. He volunteered to be released from his classroom this fall to visit schools and talk with members about Proposition 30 and Proposition 32. Guillermo Sandoval Aaron Hall and Sunny Dawn are getting out the vote. MILK ELEMENTARY SCHOOL third-grade teacher Aaron Hall gets up early these days. With a brand-new baby boy born this summer, he's got his hands full changing diapers, learning to swaddle, and helping his partner navigate all of the joys and sur- prises of the first few weeks of parenthood. But there's another reason he's waking up early — to make sure he gets out to school sites before the school day starts. Aaron took the semester off to help organize San Francisco teachers and paraprofessionals to turn out in record numbers for the November election. And though he's already tired even before the day begins, he knows that with all that is at stake, the sacrifice is worth it. "This election isn't just about my future, it's about my students and my family as well," says Aaron. "It's not exaggerating to say that if we lose this election, we're just one big domino falling after Wisconsin." Dennis Kelly, president of the 6,000-member United Educators of San Francisco, gave a similar warning at the UESF campaign kickoff and rally on Sept. 22 — especially about the need to defeat Proposition 32. "The labor movement in California protects more than public education," Kelly said. "If Prop. 32 passes, we will be unable to defend the environment, health care, and the social safety net from the same super PACs that are wreaking havoc across the nation." 18 California Educator October 2012 What motivated you to get involved in this campaign? Both initiatives have huge consequences for teachers and students. If Prop. 30 fails, Montebello is looking at more fur- lough days and more cuts of over $13 million. And if 32 passes — that pretty much ends our ability to impact things like class sizes, merit pay, and school funding. It was tough to start the year out of the classroom and miss the beginning of the school year, but this election is too important not to do all I can. How are members responding? Members are aware and see the need to pass 30 and de- feat 32. Some members are so stressed out with all they are expected to do with even fewer resources, that it takes some encouragement to get them motivated to campaign. But they really get how important this is and what it means for stu- dents if we don't do all we can. We're up against well-funded corporations that want to silence us and take over the playing field more than they already have. Our students who will pay the price if we fail. Photo by Terri Molina Then there is the school board race, where teachers have an opportunity to elect an independent school board that is truly sensitive to the needs of students, and respects teachers' pro- fessional rights. The UESF mobilization for the election began with a pledge card campaign asking members to commit to voting to support schools. UESF members can still fill out a pledge card online at www.uesf.org. San Francisco educators are also signing up for ongoing phone banks. "We've got a big job to do, but I know we can do it," says Aaron.