Educate Our State is a grassroots, parent-led organization educating and uniting Californians to advocate for
systemic change that will provide all students with a high-quality public education. Add your voice now!

We're saying it loud and clear: there's a crisis facing California Public Education, and we need to stand up and demand change. Watch this video to hear what inspires us.



School Beat: Taking Action in a State of Emergency

May is turning into a month of action on the part of public education supporters. From parent groups to the University of California system, teachers, administrators, parents, students and advocates will be engaged in a variety of actions to convey to elected officials and the public the seriousness of the financial crisis our schools are facing. Since the effort to get a vote on tax extensions onto a June ballot failed, there has been an eerie period of relative calm, but that is an illusory state, a quiet before the storm.

Schools, along with other critical services, have been left in a financial limbo where they must continue to operate, but must plan for unknown levels of cuts that may come in an unpredictable schedule, with unfamiliar, unacceptable changes to classrooms. Across the state, teachers are facing layoffs, class sizes are being increased, and program offerings are being reduced. Just recently in the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD), community members at the high school level were fighting to save a long-established music program and third year foreign language classes. 

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Comcast NewsMakers - Educate Our State - Crystal Brown (video)

Crystal Brown discusses Educate Our State - the parent movement in California. 

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Taking Action in a State of Emergency

May is turning into a month of action on the part of public education supporters. From parent groups to the University of California system, teachers, administrators, parents, students and advocates will be engaged in a variety of actions to convey to elected officials and the public the seriousness of the financial crisis our schools are facing. Since the effort to get a vote on tax extensions onto a June ballot failed, there has been an eerie period of relative calm, but that is an illusory state, a quiet before the storm.

Schools, along with other critical services, have been left in a financial limbo where they must continue to operate, but must plan for unknown levels of cuts that may come in an unpredictable schedule, with unfamiliar, unacceptable changes to classrooms. Across the state, teachers are facing layoffs, class sizes are being increased, and program offerings are being reduced. Just recently in the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD), community members at the high school level were fighting to save a long-established music program and third year foreign language classes.

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Class Sizes to Grow, Despite State's $1.3 Billion Program

For years, the Oakland Unified School District spent millions of dollars to open small schools and hire more teachers, giving it some of the smallest class sizes in Alameda County.

But that effort is slowly eroding as the state’s financial troubles deepen.

The district’s average class size next year could jump to 30 students for every teacher, up from 23 this year, a 30-percent increase, according to figures provided by the district.

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School Board Considers Cutting 315 More Jobs (video)

The San Diego Unified School District Board of Education Tuesday will consider a proposal to increase the number of layoff notices going to classified staff and may prepare what it calls a 'doomsday budget,' which would tack on an additional $35 million to $50 million in cuts. 

"Schools will not function. Your kids won't get educated and it just won't work," said SDUSD chief of staff Bernie Rhinerson.

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The last word: Come together … right now

 In my speech to the CSBA Delegate Assembly last December, I told the delegates I wanted the theme of my presidency to be one of recognition. Recognition of school boards, recognition of school board members, recognition of staff, and recognition of the teachers, parents, administrators and all of the others who tirelessly advocate on behalf of California’s children each and every day.

In the past few weeks we’ve seen this tireless advocacy demonstrated  in the work that school board members and others have done to ensure that California voters have the opportunity to consider a measure to extend temporary revenues as a means to protect education funding.

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School districts propose drastic budget cuts that raise outcry

In recent weeks school districts have rolled out doomsday budgets that call for hundreds of layoffs, larger class sizes, the elimination of sports and the end of glee club and cheerleading.

School boards say drastic cuts are needed to balance budgets if tax extensions proposed by Gov. Jerry Brown aren't put on the ballot by state lawmakers and approved by voters in June.

Will the cuts really play out as described? Or are educators choosing programs popular with parents so they will lobby lawmakers to put the tax measure to a vote?

Jonathan Raymond, superintendent of Sacramento City Unified, admits the decision to target sports programs was political. "The reality is that with athletics, people take notice," he said. "If it's the only thing to get people to step up and mobilize, it's worth it.

"Frankly, the public outcry is needed."

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Parents, Educators Call On Lawmakers To Allow Budget Special Election

 A coalition of parents, educators and their supporters gathered in San Francisco today to call on state representatives to let tax extensions--a key part of Gov. Jerry Brown's state budget proposal--go before voters so K-12 education cuts might be spared in this year's cycle.

The group, a grassroots organization called Educate our State!, delivered 30,000 letters this week to state lawmakers asking them to support the budget, which would close a $25 billion deficit with $12.5 billion in cuts and $12 billion in revenue generation.

The revenue is dependent upon voters deciding in June to extend various taxes and fees, but so far, Republican lawmakers have refused to let the issue go before the public. Brown needed an additional four votes, today's speakers said.

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30,000 parents, and one student, rally in support of June taxes (video)

 http://youtu.be/hP-u6DA9-qw

A group of San Francisco mothers who have helped organize 30,000 parents around the state to press for a June vote on tax extensions made their case at a Sunset District elementary school Wednesday morning, along with one student: Jack Cramer.

The group, called Educate Our State, said they have sent 30,000 letters to lawmakers and the governor as part of their “Let Us Vote,” campaign. The letters demand that legislators place a package of $14 billion worth of tax increases and extensions before voters June. The group argues that without the vote — a key part of Gov. Jerry Brown’s budget proposal — the governor’s budget will fall apart and schools will feel the brunt of the problem.

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Former Gov. Pete Wilson pulled a Jerry Brown?

 

When Pete Wilson took the governor’s office in 1991, he also took on a $14 billion budget deficit—at the time the largest budget shortfall in the state’s history.

A nasty fight followed, between the Republican governor and the Democratic-controlled Legislature. But in the summer of that year, Wilson signed a budget that split the deficit burden equally between cuts and tax hikes. About $7 billion was slashed from state programs, and about $7 billion in additional revenue came from tax increases—including higher income taxes on the wealthy.

As per the state constitution, this could only be accomplished with two-thirds support of the state Legislature. Wilson got the votes, just barely, thanks to help from several Republicans who found new taxes distasteful but who voted with Democrats anyway, in order to close the gap. As it turned out, the state economy came back pretty strong after that, and remained strong throughout the rest of the 1990s. Ronald Reagan likewise hiked taxes by $1 billion upon taking the governor’s office in 1967.

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