California Teachers: Textbooks, Not Tax Breaks

Image: Courtesy <a href="http://www.cta.org">CTA.org</a>

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.


“We are not here to lobby. We’re here to raise some hell,” Betty Olson-Jones, president of the Oakland Education Association, told The Sacramento Bee this morning, as California Highway Patrol officers arrested 65 protesters in Sacramento today. Olson was there along with about 1,000 teachers, parents, and students to urge California lawmakers to pass a tax extension to avoid deeper cuts to education budgets around the state. California, which educates one in eight public school children in America, is staring down a $28 billion budgetary hole.

The protest in Sacramento—along with hundreds of other protests throughout the Golden State—was organized by the California Teachers Association as part of a weeklong “State of Emergency” campaign to stave off a third round of cuts to California’s schools. Tom Torlakson, the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, argued earlier this year that there’s no more meat on the bone. According to the non-partisan Legislative Analysts Office, per-student spending for California schools has dropped by 6.6 percent, or about $540 per student, over the past three years. California ranks close to the bottom when it comes to funding per student. Many of the state’s school districts have already cut teaching materials, increased class size, and cut teachers, nurses, counselors, and psychologists. Some teachers buy supplies with their own money, share tips for donation websites, and clip coupons together in staff rooms.

In San Francisco, more than 100 teachers marched by City Hall, chanting “close tax loopholes, not schools,” and “textbooks, not taxbreaks.” The San Francisco Unified School District sent out preliminary pink slips to 400 teachers, and other staff, including Steven Hankle, the choir director at Mission High. “We’ve made great progress in the last few years,” Mission High principal Eric Guthertz told me earlier this year. “I worry what the cuts will do to that.”

What will it take to stave off these cuts? California Teachers Association says that first, state legislators should extend some existing taxes immediately. And after that, Jerry Brown will continue to push legislators to agree to a special election that will ask voters for an additional tax hike on their purchases, cars, and income. A CBS poll in March found that the majority of Californians support a special election to let voters decide whether to extend tax increases to help close California’s massive budget deficit.

REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

payment methods

REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate