Protesting LAUSD Education Budget Cuts

In 15 minutes I'll be marching in a picket line outside my son's school. I'm joining 40,000 teachers city-wide to protest the massive $353 million in State of California education budget cuts. $100 million is going to be slashed from LAUSD's budget alone.

We're doing a "late-in" which means that from 7:30-8:30 parents and teachers are going to picket together. The teachers will enter the school at 8:35 and then parents are going to continue the protest till 9 AM. My kids are probably going to go into the school where the administrators and other campus staff can supervise them, much like they do at recess and lunch when teachers get a little break. But I'm tempted to have them both right out there on the sidewalk, protesting with me. After all, it's their educational opportunity that's being stolen away just because some people in our state capital, Sacramento, want to be funny with the money.

Speaking of Sacramento, Superintendent David Brewer says he respects the concerns but we should let folks in Sacramento handle things for us.

Oh, OK. Because just sitting by and letting our government paternalistically handle things has ever worked for Americans? With that sort of thinking, we should still be under British rule! Not to mention that Brewer's a black man so he should know better than to say something so ridiculous. He probably thinks people would free the slaves out of the kindness of their hearts instead of being forced to do so by a little thing called the Civil War.

And maybe Brewer's forgotten how much protesting and marching it took to integrate schools in the first place. I wonder how long it would've taken to get those schools integrated if folks had just waited for someone to "handle" it. Chances are, we'd still be waiting.

What Brewer and all the other folks saying that we shouldn't do this march fail to realize is that getting a good education is the civil rights issue of this generation. We can't stand by and hope that state officials just decide to do the right thing. Budget cuts of this kind in an education system that's already strapped are going to be devastating.

The only way I'm "for" this craziness is if Governor Schwarzenegger puts his kids down in one of the public schools in Watts. Then he can go ahead and cut the budget all he wants. Till that happens, I'm going to be right out there, marching with a huge sign.


Anonymous said…
Good for you - they always complain parents aren't involved enough. I hope the protest actually get some kind of response.
Jameil said…
tell 'em sister! i love your activism!! and make sure you call the media to cover it!
Anonymous said…
Cuts of $353 million in education? That's completely crazy. As you say, education is a major civil rights issue. And what's their excuse for such massive cuts? I bet there's still plenty of cash for the politicians to jet off on 'fact-finding' missions to other countries. Good for you joining the picket line. I hope it's well supported. Leave Sacramento to handle it indeed. Sure to be a recipe for non-action and indefinite shelving of complaints.
Jen said…
I hope that Superintendent is ousted soon... write your school board members. Did the boys stay with you or go inside? I like the "late-in" idea.
Ian Lidster said…
I love how you have the courage of your convictions and actively address those things that bother you, especially when it involves your beloved family. What a fab person you are.
May I hug you?
Liz Dwyer said…
I hope it gets some response too. We ended up with about 100 parents and teachers marching for our school and there was lots of media covering some of the bigger high schools, so that's hopefully a good thing.

I am always down to be an activist for a just and noble cause. In so many parts of the world people can't protest so I have to exercise my right! A couple of photographers came out and took pictures of us marching around -- check the LAT site, there's a lot of press!

What makes it really ridiculous is that California is already 48/50 in education spending, so I guess we're supposed to jump all the way down to last place. It's especially disgusting because Schwarzenegger campaigned on a platform of reforming education. I guess he forgot about that!

The "late in" is a great idea, isn't it? My eldest marched till about 8:15 and the youngest till about 9:30. Then I took him to McDonalds and let him play in the jungle gym so he was pretty happy about his morning! :)

I just really believe that we should never wait for someone else to speak up for what we believe in and know to be right. Otherwise, nothing changes. And yes, all hugs are welcome! I can always use a good hug!
It angers me to no end that states chop and chew up education budgets like they mean nothing more than a few pluses and minuses in some old dusty ledger. I found myself speaking before the local school board here in Maryland over some simple minded non-sense they were trying to pull on the children out here.

For heaven's sake people - THESE ARE OUR KIDS THAT YOU ARE HURTING! If these states and cities could manage their money better, our kids wouldn't have to suffer. They screw up, our kids PAY THE PRICE! GRRRRRRRRRR!

Good for you taking it to The Streets!
Anonymous said…
I remember when there was talk about recalling the recall election and he magically found money in the budget.
Liz Dwyer said…
Thinking Black Man,
Good for you for going to talk to your local school board. I've watched our school board meetings on public access and it's so much politicking that it doesn't even feel like it's about kids or their future. It totally seems like it's about individuals gaining political power.

That's right. I was just talking to somebody today about how the madness that is going on is just as bad as when Gray Davis got recalled, so who's gonna start the movement to recall Schwarzenegger?
j'taimee said…
Ms. Angelista -
I'm glad that you also encourage people to vote... unfortunately, most of the people who vote in California no longer have school aged children.
You may also wish to look into the fine print on Prop. 13.
And while I'm thinking about it, what ever happened to the California Lottery? Those funds dried up for schools in the early '90s - but who gets them now?
Felicity said…
Very pleased for you! I wish you every success!
Liz Dwyer said…
I'm always wondering about the lottery money too, especially now that we participate in two. It's such a scam. Good point about people not having school-age kids.

I definitely think the protests raised awareness in the average citizen and now more people are asking why we're in the situation we're in.
Your last paragraph says it all for me. Until cynical politicians are willing to actually stand with the people they govern, our only recourse is to make ourselves heard, whatever it takes.

Wear sunscreen while you're out there.
Anonymous said…
I can just see Schwarzenegger’s kids goin’ to Locke High! When I drove my kids by Centennial High in Compton, ya know, there on Central, and told ‘em I was gonna send them there, my daughter says “That ain’t no school, that’s a Minimum Security facility!” They couldn’t “cope”; too many years in the vanilla-ville ‘burbs’ to know how to “survive” that…
Single White Daddy
Liz Dwyer said…
Oh yes, I've spent a LOT of time at Centennial over the years. I used to teach only a few blocks from there and then I supervised some new teachers there too. It's definitely improved from what it was 10 yeas ago, but there's still a long ways to go. My kids couldn't hang either but I don't even think the kids that live down there are really surviving all that well. Did you catch that article in the LA Times a couple of months ago that talked about rates of depression and post traumatic stress disorder symptoms in teens in South Central? It was really sad. As much as I can't stand so many things about my children's current school, I always remember it could be a heck of a lot worse.

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