News

Day of Action, here and across California

Today was a Day of Action in the San Ramon Valley as well as the rest of Contra Costa County and the state as teachers and parents joined to protest budget cuts to public education.

"Each school is doing their own thing. There's not a districtwide activity or demonstration but most, if not all, are doing something," said School District Spokesman Terry Koehne. "It ranges from standing out on the sidewalk before and after school and handing out fliers, to wearing pink shirts or arm bands."

Some gathered before school with signs. Staff from Greenbrook Elementary School planned to be on the four corners of Sycamore Valley Road after school. In San Ramon, teachers from Walt Disney were to distribute fliers after school on Pine Valley Road and Pebble Place, and Bollinger Canyon Elementary planned to march north on San Ramon Valley Boulevard from Bollinger Canyon Road.

"The whole idea is to bring awareness to the issue," said Koehne.

Teachers in the Mount Diablo Unified School District planned to hold rallies in the afternoon in Concord, Pleasant Hill and Walnut Creek, said Mike Noce, president of the Mt. Diablo Teachers Association.

Schools held disaster drills this morning as a symbolic gesture to show the disaster budget cuts are causing to public education.

Teachers and union representatives in the Mount Diablo Unified School District held a news conference at Monte Gardens Elementary School in Concord before school started today. State Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan and a representative from Assemblyman Tom Torlakson's office spoke at the event, Noce said.

Comments

Posted by samiam, a resident of Danville
on Mar 5, 2010 at 7:33 am

Hello Everyone

I am a parent that support the schools. However, one of the problems with the day of action, is that is done EVERY SINGLE YEAR. Any type of protest loses its impact when it is done too frequently. Education was actually cut the least in the state budget mess. However, the simple fact is this year we actually do have less money. Because the same reaction, pink ribbons/shirts/etc has been done every year, it will not be as big an impact this year. Last year Green Valley had missing chairs out in front of the school to note missing teachers, what can they do this year to top that?

The reality is that a new parcel tax was passed, providing additional money for the school last year, the assessed value of property is down significantly, causin a reduction of county taxes paid. The job loss rate is high, people are losing their homes. Where do you think additional money is going to come from? It is probably time to REALLY look at budgets and decide where to cut. Instead of three secretaries in a school office have one and supplement with volunteers, if the extra help is actually needed. It is not optimal but there is not a lot of money right now.


Posted by Nancy, a resident of Danville
on Mar 5, 2010 at 8:25 am

How about an 11 1/2 % flat tax on ALL Americans. Roughly 70% of the taxes come from 10% of Americans, almost 50% of Americans pay less than 1% or no taxes. We all benefit in some way, we are all Americans why such a disparity? California is in such a mess because of this disparity. Federal and State taxes are going up and the 10% of Americans paying the bill are frustrated. This is the real issue, and the only reason it is not debated is the fact that politicians want the 50% of the people paying no taxes to vote for them in 2010.


Posted by Sarah, a resident of Danville
on Mar 5, 2010 at 8:32 am

Nancy you're exactly right, but it will never happen.


Posted by Duffy, a resident of Danville
on Mar 5, 2010 at 10:20 am

I think the proponents of the "Day of Action" are being less than honest! The funds provided by the state will be the same as last year. The so called "Budget Cut" is from the additional money asked for in the fiscal year 2010-2011. I think the protesters would do a far greater service if they would propose where the monies will come from to restore these "budget Cuts." How about cutting Welfare after 20 years of receiving it, Or allowing non-teachers union employees or volunteers to staff libraries, etc.


Posted by Jim, a resident of another community
on Mar 5, 2010 at 10:22 am

It seems that teaching social activism and diversity has taken precedence over Reading, Writing and Arithmetic. I have three boys graduated from high school. They all know about social diversity, but have trouble writing an error free sentence or doing more than basic math, even though they all passed the CEA. Being a good parent and keeping after your children to do well in school is pretty hard when the teachers set their own agenda, often ignoring the basics of education.

We keep throwing more money at the schools with little to show for it on the other side. Over HALF the General Fund goes to schools. I support the work unions do, but I consider the CTA the most obstructionist organization towards progress in the state. They want more money but oh no, we can't get rid of the ineffective teachers. What I find even more heinous is that they use our children to forward their agenda.


Posted by equal but not fair, a resident of Danville
on Mar 5, 2010 at 11:33 am

The problem is the unions want equality not fairness. They all get the same raises, etc. whether they are good employees or not.

What would happen if at the end of the school year every child got the exact same report card, would that be fair? No, but it would be equal.

Teachers should be compensated based on how well they do the job, and get rid of the ones that don't do well, or are apathetic.


Posted by Parent, a resident of Danville
on Mar 5, 2010 at 11:46 am

Jim,

Bulls-eye..great shot!
I have 3 students, each one has struggled in either math and/or writing, over the years I have had to pay a tutor to help get my child(ren) up to grade level. My daughter told me that the teacher does 1 problem on the board and then expects the student to understand and gets frustrated when a student asks for more clarification, my husband and I try to help them, but the ways of teaching has changed so much, that the way we do math confuses our student, which in turn leads to much frustration, no one needs that in the evening after a long day. While I am grateful that diversity and social activism is taught, that teaching should be the parents job. We need to get back to old school teaching!


Posted by American, a resident of Danville
on Mar 5, 2010 at 1:37 pm

Jim: You made some excellent points. It is also troubling that teachers are using OUR copy machines and OUR supplies to make their posters and pass out their propaganda. If the teachers union wants to play hard ball politics, let them use copy machines and supplies that belong to the union, not ours!!


Posted by C. R. Mudgeon, a resident of Danville
on Mar 5, 2010 at 2:19 pm

The whole "pink slip" process is a farce, anyway, although it is dictated by both law and union contract. The district is required to issue pink slips in the Spring, to anyone who MIGHT be let go the following Fall. So they typically issue a fair number of pink slips. But in reality, all, or at least almost all, of the pink-slipped teachers are never actually let go. The district doesn't mind issuing lots of pink slips, since it also tends to bolster their cries for more money, especially if something like a parcel tax vote is coming up. This makes it impossible to tell the actual severity of budget problems.

This last comment is not related to our local school district, but more to the simultaneous protests at the various UC and CSU schools: Did anyone else note the irony of having UC faculty and professors protesting furlough days and the lack of money for salary increases, right next to students who are protesting the increases in UC fees (their term for tuition)? I suppose that more money appearing magically might make both groups happy, but with a given amount of money, the two groups will be competing for the same funds. Should it go to the faculty and staff? Or should it go to the students, in the form of lower tuition increases? (UC in-state tuition, despite the recent increases, remains among the lowest of any state. On the other hand, the percentage increase was pretty high, and it is also true that UC administrators have received very large increases in salary over the past 5-10 years, well above what professors have received.)


Posted by Chris, a resident of San Ramon
on Mar 5, 2010 at 2:24 pm

And to top it all-California lost its share of 'Race to the Top' funds, in good part due to almost half the school districts opting out of it.
I am all for teachers but I believe like any other job, they are in some part accountable for the standards of their class.Keep the good ones, weed out the not so good ones.


Posted by samiam, a resident of Danville
on Mar 5, 2010 at 3:58 pm

I know we couldn't possibly do this, but the last time I went through layoffs at a company, we held a large meeting, ranked everyone by ability, (you had to be willing to back up you assertions) and then by salary. People making twice the salary of another person had to be producing at a rate that justified their salary, not at an equal rate to the cheaper person. Instead, we will simply keep the oldest/longest employed staff at the schools, despite the fact that a young, enthusastic person might be both better AND cheaper.

The problem I have with pink slips and the way they are used is that when they use them every year, they are meaningless. No one believes anything anymore because the same story is told every year.


Posted by samiam, a resident of San Ramon Valley High School
on Mar 5, 2010 at 4:03 pm

As far as teachers go, some are great, some are not. The schools do not distinguish between them and that is unfortunate. I know that there is a teacher at my child's school who is so awknowledged to be poor that half the parents setting in the audience at open house stated that no matter who else they got it could not possibily be as bad as the prior teacher. When a music teacher is kept on that can't control her class at all. No learning is done and yet in this district every child in that class is charged a separate fee to attend. What occurs when no one can pay the fee? What happens if next year no one is willing to pay the fee due to poor results?


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