This is a guest post by Teri Levy, Co-founder, Educate Our State
My child is a baby…
My child is in a charter school…
My child is in a private school…
Why should I care?
California, the golden state, is losing its shine. Sure we have the most incredible scenery, beaches and attractions; however, our public education system is imploding in front of our eyes and many people don’t seem to notice or care. The statistics are alarming – California, one of the largest economies in the world, is almost dead last in per pupil spending. We rank last in teacher or staff to student ratios. We rank last in librarian to student ratios. Did you know that drop outs from the class of 2008 will cost California almost $42.1 billion in lost earning wages over their lifetime? This golden state educates 1 in 8 children in the United States. That is 1.5 million kids. Yes, 1.5 million. Why aren’t we as citizens concerned? Why aren’t we outraged that the system is broken?
As a mother of four daughters, I often wonder what this golden state will look like when my kids are all grown up. I have this notion that we will become a feral society with uneducated and unqualified population. Kind of like a Sci Fi novel become reality. Folks, this is were we are heading unless moms, dads, nieghbors and friends like us don’t join forces and have a loud organized voice to shift the needle. Your political affiliations do not matter. Educating our children is not a political issue. It is an issue of a value, a priority, a social issue.
It takes a village to raise a child. Let’s start building that village by uniting all our voices to speak up and fight for public education. Sure, the lucky few can focus on our local school and fix some of the funding problems by raising funds that directly impact our school. And we can turn a blind eye to the school down the street who’s community does not have access to the same resources. Or we can choose to fight and become part of the solution. We can become the watch dogs for the most important special interest, children. We can hold our elected officials accountable for their actions. We can be aware of policies that will effect our children’s education. We can become part of the solution.
How can you start?
Easy. Over 40,000 parents and concerned citizens have joined Educate Our State. Educate Our State are all moms like us. This is a pure volunteer organization, these are moms, dads, teachers and community members that want to be the voice for our children, your children and all children. If not us, then who?
On March 15th these same parents are launching a letter writing campaign “This Budget Blows” to let our legislators know that they are blowing it and our kids will pay the price. Let me explain: Governor Brown has recommended a budget that relies on a ballot initiative that may or may not be passed in November. This is way too risky and too late. Our schools must pass a budget NOW and lay off teachers by July. So, even If the initiative passes in November, our kids will already feel the pain at their schools with loss of up to 3 weeks of school, even bigger class sizes, cuts in science, music, library and more. This is unacceptable. Parents and kids will be “blowing bubbles” outside their schools on Thursday to show our legislators that they shouldn’t “blow this budget”. The only thing that could make this rally across California cuter is if the kids were holding puppies and bunnies. Is your school on this list? (http://www.educateourstate.org/blowing_bubbles)
Join movement “Educate Our State”. Sign up to received monthly emails and alerts about actions to take. Invite your friends and family who care about kids and California to sign up to. A small act like “Liking” us on Facebook shows you stand with us. (www.educateourstate.org)
Educate Our State is a statewide parent-led campaign to unite the voices of Californians in support of high quality K-12 public education and to demand real system change. This is about mom power. Let’s do this for your kids, my kids and every California kid.
Teri Levy,mother of four daughters attending public school in Los Angeles. She is the co-founder, communications and marketing director, and jack of all trades for Educate Our State. She spends each day as a volunteer fighting for great public education in California for all children.