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Teachers protest budget in Sacramento

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Posted: Tuesday, May 10, 2011 12:00 am | Updated: 9:22 am, Tue May 10, 2011.

Hundreds of teachers from around California descended on the state Capitol on Monday to make the case for extending tax hikes as a way to stave off deep budget cuts to public education.

Amid tightened security, the teachers marched to the Capitol in hopes of meeting with lawmakers and even staging sit-ins in the building.

The day was a kick-off to a week of action the California Teachers Association has dubbed a “State of Emergency.” It includes demonstrations and teach-ins throughout the state as schools face the prospect of mass layoffs and program cuts.

Chanting “Tax, tax, tax the rich, we can solve the deficit,” hundreds of teachers clad in pale blue shirts carried banners and signs into the Capitol building, where California Highway Patrol officers blocked the main rotunda areas to prevent demonstrators from staging sit-ins there. A large group of teachers moved to an open area on the second floor. Others lined the hallway outside the office of Gov. Jerry Brown.

Doug Nielson, a government and economics teacher at Coalinga High School, said he was frustrated after visiting the offices of Republican lawmakers whom he said seemed more concerned with adhering to their ideology than addressing what he called a crisis in public education.

“If we stick to our ideologies, our children are going to suffer,” Nielson said. “When somebody says well, extending these taxes is a tax increase, you’ve got a mindset there that says the dollars are more important than the kids. And they can’t be. We can’t afford to do that. You can’t have first-class teaching on a Third World budget.”

Republican legislative leaders were pointing to an unexpected $2.5 billion in extra tax revenue that came to the state last month as a way to fully fund education without having to extend the recent tax increases.

“It’s an opportunity for us to live within our means and do the right thing, and still protect schools and law enforcement and the things that I believe are important to taxpayers and what taxpayers believe they’re paying taxes for in the first place,” said Assemblywoman Connie Conway, R-Tulare.

About 300 volunteers wearing shirts saying, “I will be a lay-off!” were expected to rally outside Conway’s district office in Visalia later Monday.

At issue are temporary increases in the sales, personal income and vehicle taxes the Legislature enacted two years ago. The increases are scheduled to end by June 30, but Brown wants a special election to renew them for another five years to help close the remainder of what had been a $26.6 billion budget deficit.

The deficit now stands at $15.4 billion after Brown and Democratic lawmakers cut spending and transferred some money between government accounts. So far, Brown has been unable to win the two GOP votes he needs in each house of the state Legislature to put the tax question before voters.

The California Teachers Association and other interest groups are calling on lawmakers to vote on the taxes outright before they expire, rather than waiting for a special election the teachers say would take too long and imperil about 20,000 public school jobs. That’s about the number of layoff notices that were issued to teachers and other staff for the next school year.

David Sanchez, president of the 325,000-member teachers association, the politically powerful union that is organizing most of the week’s activities, kicked off the protest in Sacramento by saying schools already are suffering from previous cuts that have devastated art, music and physical education programs. The union represents about three-quarters of the state’s 300,000 teachers, as well as other school personnel.

“These cuts run deep and they not only impact the present, they impact our future,” Sanchez said. “We are here today and we will be here the entire week to tell our legislators they must extend the temporary taxes.”

Without a renewal of the tax increases, Brown and Democratic lawmakers warn the state will be forced to make deep cuts that affect the lives of nearly every Californian and further erode the quality of the public school system.

“I think it’s time to get mad as hell and say enough. This is a disgrace, a national disgrace,” San Francisco Unified School District Superintendent Carlos Garcia said while addressing an early morning rally in San Francisco.

About 100 school personnel gathered at 5:30 a.m. in San Francisco and marched to school district headquarters, with 60 boarding a chartered bus to Sacramento to join other protesters.

Garcia also said California should consider revising Proposition 13, the 1978 voter initiative that rolled back and capped property tax increases, so more tax revenue can be generated from commercial properties.

In addition, the California Federation of Teachers began running a radio ad in selected areas, singling out Republican state senators who oppose extending the tax increases. The ad will run in the districts of senators Tony Strickland of Thousand Oaks, Anthony Cannella of Ceres and Tom Berryhill of Modesto.

Strickland welcomed the ads, saying the effort prompts people to call his office so he can explain that one of his goals is maximizing classroom dollars by cutting education bureaucracy and other government waste.

He said Republicans intend to release their own budget plan that would avoid more cuts to education and law enforcement by using $2.5 billion to $5 billion in projected revenue growth as the state economy improves.

“California is not in this position because we’re taxed too little,“ Strickland said. ”We’re in this position because we’re taxed too much. I understand teachers’ concern, because 50 cents of each dollar we spend in Sacramento is going to education, but not much of it is getting to the classroom.”

School funding accounts for more than 40 percent of the state’s general fund spending, but it has fallen from $71.1 billion in the 2007-08 fiscal year to $64.4 billion this fiscal year.

The California Federation of Teachers also supports a bill by Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, which would increase the income tax rate from 9.3 percent to 10.3 percent on taxable income of $500,000 and up, union spokesman Steve Hopcraft said. A recent poll by the Public Policy Institute of California found that six in 10 likely voters favored raising income taxes on top earners to fund education.

The protests will culminate Friday with a rally and sit-in at the state Capitol.

© 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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12 comments:

  • Mike Adams posted at 6:54 pm on Fri, May 13, 2011.

    Mike Adams Posts: 1271

    Nor did I. A fair compromise.

     
  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 12:39 pm on Fri, May 13, 2011.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9403

    Mike stated...Darrell, experts in all fields disagree with each other. They generally don't believe that those they disagree with are lying or incompetent or unqualified...

    I cannot disagree with this post... however, your points have nothing to do with mine... lets just leave it that I failed to express my point in an effective mannor

     
  • Mike Adams posted at 5:56 pm on Thu, May 12, 2011.

    Mike Adams Posts: 1271

    Darrell,
    From someone who has actually taught economics (as well as other subjects), I am merely pointing out that just because someone knows something about a particular discipline, but who has no college course work, passed subject matter exams, and so on, that teaching any course requires a lot of rigor. The fact that you disagree with what this one teacher said, let's say his name is "Mike Adams"(per your suggestion), is fine and is appropriate. But from what I can deduce from your post is that because he is not providing information that you agree with, that he is somehow incompetent.

    Darrell, experts in all fields disagree with each other. They generally don't believe that those they disagree with are lying or incompetent or unqualified.

     
  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 3:13 pm on Thu, May 12, 2011.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9403

    Mike stated...would be a better teacher than someone who has at least a BA

    Mike... .are you being silly intentionally... I'm not talking about “someone” who at least has a BA...
    I'm talking about this one particular teacher... To demonstrate just how bad a teacher I think he is, I picked “someone” who is “not” a teacher intentionally .. then you begin to make points about Tom... who I chose randomly just to make a point... for argument sake... lets change this for your benefit...
    This teacher is sooooo bad … that “Mike Adams” could teach more about real economics in one hour than this teacher in one year... Now if you want to criticize yourself since I used you as an example, please feel free.

     
  • Mike Adams posted at 6:23 am on Thu, May 12, 2011.

    Mike Adams Posts: 1271

    So you think someone off the street, whose qualifications are totally unknown, other than writing one entry in a small town newspaper blog, would be a better teacher than someone who has at least a BA and has qualilfied by either major or examination to teach a college prep subject would be a better teacher of a semester course?

    Someone who makes inaccurate, blanket statements such as "Speaking of disgrace, how does our education system stack up to the rest of the states? How about the rest of the world. When our students start learning something in school, maybe then we can have a discussion about funding." and shows absolutely no grasp of evaluation of educational systems even might be a better teacher.... This is what's wrong with education in this country.

    Just because someone graduated from high school and picks up cliches and repeats them ad nauseum fortunaty doesn't qualify someone to teach school.

     
  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 8:35 pm on Wed, May 11, 2011.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9403

    Mike... let me be more direct... I was not suggesting that Tom would be a good economics teacher... so any comment of Tom's you question is off my topic... I stated he would be "Better" than Mr Nelson as Mr Nelson would cause harm where as Tom would not. I am not talking about politics.. I am talking about this teachers lack of knowledge in what he is supposed to be teaching.

     
  • Mike Adams posted at 8:22 am on Wed, May 11, 2011.

    Mike Adams Posts: 1271

    Your math is fuzzy.

    What about the civil disobedience? Strange how our perceptions of actions by others is colored by our pollitics.

     
  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 8:59 pm on Tue, May 10, 2011.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9403

    Mike stated...Darrell, My experience with people like Tom Carlson is that their knowledge is a mile wide and an inch deep.

    Mike... let me put it differently... sorry I was not clear... if Tom's knowledge is as you described, this economics teacher's knowledge would be 1/8 mile wide and 1/100th of an inch deep. So thin ... that a student would fall through and injury their intelligence. Thanks for questioning my statement so I could clarify.

     
  • Mike Adams posted at 6:27 pm on Tue, May 10, 2011.

    Mike Adams Posts: 1271

    Darrell, My experience with people like Tom Carlson is that their knowledge is a mile wide and an inch deep. Any high school class would figure out pretty quick that teaching someone a particular subject like economics (but it could apply to any course), that when the teacher slings out cliche after cliche, that the teacher doesn't really know anything on the course.

    Statements like "Did you see the disobedience by the teachers? Dragged away by CHP officers for failing to obey the rules of conduct? What a disgrace they are. And they are supposed to be an example for our children?" are just laughable.

    It's called "civil disobedience". Normal people learn about it in high school. There have been many instances of "civil disobedience" in our history. Like the Boston Tea Party. Can you believe the way those colonials dumped all that tea? What a disgrace they were.

    And they are held up to be patriots? What an example for our children.

     
  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 9:26 am on Tue, May 10, 2011.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9403

    The union stated ( I mean the hidden democrat's press secretary)...We are here today and we will be here the entire week to tell our legislators they must extend the temporary taxes.”... bur what they dont say... it is they that contribute to the
    anti-business environment that decreases tax revenue to pay for education.

     
  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 8:24 am on Tue, May 10, 2011.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9403

    Doug Nielson, a government and economics teacher at Coalinga High School, said he was frustrated after visiting the offices of Republican lawmakers whom he said seemed more concerned with adhering to their ideology than addressing what he called a crisis in public education.

    This to me was eye opening... an economics teacher has no clue ...not even a hint... as to the solution to keep his own job (from an economic perspective)... means that what he teaches his students is a detrimental to our country. He complains that the Republicans are the problem, when in fact, he himself , his ideology is the problem.

    "Tom Carlson" could obviously take over Mr Nielson's class and teach more about economics in one hour than this man can in one year. Maybe if Mr Nielson focused on how tax revenue could be increased and at the same time decrease the tax rate, as well as a host of roadblocks that chase jobs away from California thus decreasing tax revenue to pay his salary, he would save his own job. Its no wonder China is going to overtake our economy in short order.. we have the likes of Mr Nielson to teach our kids how to fail (economically)
    He cannot possibly be an economics teacher... he just has a piece of paper that says he is.

     
  • Tom Carlson posted at 6:52 am on Tue, May 10, 2011.

    Tom Carlson Posts: 69

    Did you see the disobedience by the teachers? Dragged away by CHP officers for failing to obey the rules of conduct? What a disgrace they are. And they are supposed to be an example for our children?

    Speaking of disgrace, how does our education system stack up to the rest of the states? How about the rest of the world. When our students start learning something in school, maybe then we can have a discussion about funding. Education is already where 50% of our tax dollars go, but the greedy unions want it all. "Tax the Rich" doesn't cut it. The rich are leaving to states with better government, better schools, and better manners. Why would someone who is rich stay in this state? Failing schools, uneducated workers, welfare mentality. What would make someone who has the means to go elsewhere want to stay here.

    Make no mistake, this is a union sponsored event to bring more money to the union and its members and to scare the politicians into not holding the teachers accountable for the results in the classroom.

     

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