It was a long, grueling week, but I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. I want to look back at what happened and what we may have achieved. I think we need to keep in mind what we were told as this campaign started on Monday (which seems so long ago now), this is not just a week, but an on-going campaign until we get what is needed, a better budget for education this year, and more stable budget funding going forward. The key elements I saw in the campaign were reaching across the divide, showing a united front with allies, and a focus on the needs of our children.
Reaching across the partisan divide
I don’t support public education for political reasons. I support it because I’m an advocate for children.
—Katie New New on Twitter
While there was strong language against GOP policy and proposals all week long, what the public, and some in the Capitol, do not always realize is that there are teachers and CTA members who are registered Republicans, and they were among us at every step of this campaign. This was critical because it shows that even among their fellow Republicans, GOP lawmakers have constituents who do not support their policies on education, and the budget. My own Superintendent, Jonathan Raymond is a Republican and has been vocal in his pleas for extending taxes. I ran into a local parent at the Capitol who is a Republican and was visiting GOP lawmakers to share why she supports the extensions. Rural locals were strongly represented in this campaign, and while not all their members were Republican, they are more likely to have a GOP representative. This is critical, because they can make the local argument for why the revenue extensions need to happen. When you are doing a campaign like this, you have to make the local argument, and I think this was made. Listen to Jon Halverson and Ed Hilton talk about their discussions with a staffer at State Senator Ted Gaines office. If we want to move these folks, that’s how it will be done. If the decision is made to do a solution without the minority, we can say we did try to dialogue.
Unity with Allies
Superintendent, teachers, education support professionals, board members, labor leaders, PTA parents, students. Wow! —Edward Sibby on Twitter
This was not just about CTA and the education unions. This included support for our position from California PTA, ACSA (the Administrators), CSBA (California School Boards). As you can see we had non-education unions involved too. I cannot tell you how invaluable it was to have the California State PTA leadership speaking, and parents from Ella Barker sharing their stories. These are the families and communities we serve! A coalition well-focused on a issue is what can move things along.
Doing It for the Children
Yes I was laid off but I can always get another job but my students only get one shot at a great education.
—Madeline Ribeiro on Twitter
At the risk of stating the obvious, when you are making the argument about education funding, it has to be about the kids and what’s right for them. The message was about over-crowded classroom, cutting of programs and services, and how this affects our children.
The GOP leadership felt forced to respond, and for the first time in this budget cycle, offered their own plan. It is as I’ve described, a day late and a dollar short, BUT it shows their priorities and approach clearly. It’s the same sort of plan we’ve had for years full of parts requiring later voter approval (that usually doesn’t happen), and one time money. My next post will be about the road forward from here, because as Mr. Berra said, “It ain’t over, till it’s over!”
Once again, my links for this week are below:
Posts on this blog tagged “StateofEmergency”
My Diigo Bookmarks tagged “StateofEmergency”
My YouTube State of Emergency playlist
My Flickr photoset of pictures from State of Emergency