I am a student at Nipomo High School, where on March 13 we held a demonstration protesting the unfair budget cuts that could cost our school a third of its teachers. More than 800 kids, including me, stood on the quad in support of the teachers whose jobs have been threatened. We believe in our school and its teachers, but other Californians and our state leaders need to support us, too.
These budget cuts have been felt all over the state. March 13 was California’s official Pink Day, during which students showed support for teachers by wearing pink: the color of “intention to terminate” notices.
While most of my teachers have been lucky enough to avoid pink slips, many other students have lost almost all of their teachers. Countless hardworking teachers have no idea why their jobs are been singled out, and many students share this feeling of fear.
There has been much talk about how students will be affected by the cuts. First and foremost is the loss of the teachers. How is a school supposed to function after the news that a third of its teachers might not have jobs next year? All of us students have been deeply affected by the budget cuts, and with state testing looming it seems unlikely that scores will improve.
It has been projected that class sizes are likely to increase again. Increasing class sizes even more is going to get tough, as many classrooms are full to the brim with 35 kids. Schools have fire codes like any other public building, and soon it will simply not be possible to cram in more kids.
California has the largest population of any state, and yet in surveys of public education our system consistently ranks at the bottom. Why? Because it’s hard to educate 6.2 million students without proper funding.
This brings up an important question: where are the taxes of 36 million Californians going? I know there are other urgent priorities, but isn’t the education of the next generation an important concern?
Please, think of the children but also think of the hundreds of hardworking teachers who may be losing their jobs. The state of public education is an issue that sorely needs to be addressed and supported in this state. No more pink slips!