Friday, April 25, 2008

Thousands Protest in CA!!

The folks at Youth Noise, who we've covered recently, did a great job organizing student groups all over California last week. In protest of Gov. Schwarzenegger's decision to cut $5 Billion from CA public schools' budgets students, teachers, parents, and community members spoke out on April 18th.

They even managed to get some media coverage (imagine! The media portaying a group of non-violent youth being civically engaged and advocating for things that matter to's almost as if they are thinking, breathing citizens to whom we ought to direct resources should we want to preserve democracy...hmm!)

From KTVU in San Francisco:

“I feel like the state doesn’t realize how important education is,” said sophomore Lina Lin.

Kristy Morrison, an English teacher at Galileo, has been working to help organize Friday’s protest for the last month.

“Classes are already overcrowded,” she said, “and it’s going to get worse.”

Morrison said that students need to show adults that they can be active, in a nonviolent way, and that they are serious.

“Every wonderful thing this country—women’s right to vote, civil rights—everything happened with day to day people,” she said. “No politician made this happen.”

Morrison, who is tenured, said she works nearly 80 hours weekly, but nonetheless joined the list of teachers statewide who last week received pink slips from the their school.

“It’s discouraging and insulting and a big problem,” she said, “when people with such an education like myself that work this hard are not acknowledged are the first to go when the state is in a financial crisis.”

And, from the Redlands Daily Facts:
According to senior Sarah Fiske-Phillips and her brother Jacob, a sophomore, more than 50 letters were written by students to inform Schwarzenegger about how cuts in arts and physical education will affect school experiences at Grove.

"More people need to know what's going on," Sarah said. "We've been told that the governor probably won't even read our letters. But I think it adds more pressure."

"I hope it starts a chain reaction to inspire others to write a letter."
Alright Sarah Fiske-Phillips! Raising awareness, putting pressure on elected officials and refusing to quit - these students are making all the right moves. I hope she's right, and we start to see more and more student-driven organizing in the days to come.