STEPHANIE LEE, YVONNE LEE
Co-Editors in Chief
Parents dropping off their kids at AHS this morning will immediately notice the administrators, students and teachers clad in black attire, near a symbolic coffin, mourning the death of public education. Twenty-nine chairs will be lined along the front of the school to signify the teachers who lost their jobs in the district. Earlier in the week, educators put up flyers in local businesses and restaurants to inform the public about the education crisis.
On March 4, California will be participating in “Start the Day for Students,” a concept originating with college students outraged at the latest tuition increase. Teachers will spend that morning distributing flyers about the event. Supported by the California Teacher’s Association (CTA) and the Education Coalition (EC), the Alhambra Unified School District (AUSD), amongst other school districts, will be participating in an organized demonstration to raise awareness about important issues concerning their schools. Today, thousands will gather in Los Angeles’ Pershing Square and march to the Governor’s L.A. office.
AUSD has been directly affected by the state’s fiscal situation of the state as $6-7 million dollars has been cut from the education budget. Subsequently, 29 teachers were laid off with the elimination of the adult education program provided by the district. Here at AHS, Health and Safety and Career Pathways, classes once required for graduation, are no longer offered. According to Alhambra Teacher Association (ATA) Vice President Rosalyn Collier, the reduction of the budget means increased class sizes, cancelled field trips and limited extracurricular activities and competitions throughout the AUSD.
Currently, California ranks 46th in the nation for educational spending—$17 billion dollars have been cut from the education budget in the past two years, resulting in more than 16,000 educators losing their jobs. However, Collier asserts that despite the recent financial setbacks, the fundamental topic is the future of schools as a whole, and that this is not just about teachers being angry about money.
“This is a new ball game; we’re at a crossroads. The entire face of public education will change unless the public sees the real picture,” said Collier.
After the demonstration, the CTA and the EC will be collecting signatures to present an initiative on the next ballot. The initiative will aim to stop corporate tax breaks.
“These corporations are getting billions in tax breaks and public schools are being robbed,” said Collier. “[Educators] do not have friends in the California legislature.”
The CTA is urging the public to call 1-888-268-4334 to stand up for education.