This is an excerpt of On Assignment, education writer Theresa Harrington's blog on Contra Costa County schools. Read more and post comments at IBABuzz.com/onassignment. Follow her at Twitter.com/tunedtotheresa.
During the weeks leading up to Tuesday's election, teachers in the Mt. Diablo, San Ramon Valley and West Contra Costa school districts joined members of the California Teachers Association as they relentlessly rallied on street corners in districts throughout the state to get out the vote in favor of Prop. 30 and against Prop. 32.
"If Proposition 30 loses, West Contra Costa Unified School District will potentially cut 15 school days this year and lose an additional $10 million," said Diane Brown, president of the United Teachers of Richmond union, after a rally in Richmond. "Our students, our community, our teachers and our district cannot continue to survive if we are cut to the bone."
Teachers supported Proposition 30 because it provides funding that eliminates massive cuts to public education. Teachers opposed Prop. 32 because they said it would have unfairly limited their ability to lobby legislators about issues that affect them.
When the election results came in, it looked like the tireless efforts of teachers had paid off, according to an (excerpted) news release I received
"California students and working families won a clear victory today as voters clearly demonstrated their willingness to invest in our public schools and colleges and also rejected a deceptive ballot measure aimed at silencing educators, other workers and their unions.
'Today's vote signaled that Californians believe in the value of public education and investing in our students and schools,' said Dean Vogel, president of the 325,000-member California Teachers Association. "They want to see funding restored to our schools and colleges. They want to stop the tuition hikes and class size increases. They want to see students have music, and art, and libraries and access to counselors and nurses. They want to see our schools flourish and our students succeed.'
Passage of Proposition 30 will stop $6 billion in midyear cuts to our schools and colleges. In addition, local communities will receive funding to keep police on the street and our state can begin to pay down the wall of debt it's amassed over recent years.
According to Vogel, the passage of Proposition 30 was a vote for tax fairness -- ensuring that everyone is paying their fair share to build a better California -- and the defeat of Proposition 32 was a vote for political fairness.
'This hard-fought victory for democracy exposed the real agenda of the corporate special interests behind Proposition 32. Those millionaires and billionaires never cared about the checks and balances of our democracy, only the checks they could write to buy even more political influence in Sacramento and Washington,' said Vogel.
For the third time in less than 15 years, California's voters rejected similar ballot measures intentionally written to silence the voices of working men and women and their unions.
'The voice of educators and other workers are stronger now from these victories. CTA members will continue to speak out and fight for our students, our public schools, our colleges and our profession.' "
Do you believe the teacher rallies on street corners swayed voters?
Reader response (excerpted):
Anon says: "Public employee unions are the largest special interest groups in California, led by the CTA. Could the $78,000,000 spent on Prop 32 alone by these unions been spent any wiser, say to put teachers in the classroom or perhaps spent on the students. It would not have given them less representation, it would have taken the money to candidates (I'll give you this donation to your campaign, if you give us this or vote this way for us) away. Really, $78,000,000 just spare change to the unions?"
Wait A Minute says: "I believe that enough voters in CA cared enough about education and children to pass 32 and I'm sure teacher rallies and the TV advertising played a role in swaying undecided or uninformed voters. For Anon, Yes CTA put in a lot of money, but so did the Koch Brothers and other right-wing, out of state rich people to oppose 30 and push 32. ... Don't you think their money would have been better spent by putting it in the classroom?"