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Educate Our State Blog


Press Release:

Arroyo Filmworks partners with Educate Our State to bring attention to school funding crisis

Los Angeles, CA – Faced with budget cuts that threaten the education of their kids, a group of public school parents have written and produced “Shake You Down,” a five-minute comedy rap video about a PTA that turns to gangster tactics to raise money for their school.

Read more here.



Crystal Brown says in a Ed Source Article "Stop, or you are getting a time out"

A parent's plea to Molly Munger and Jerry Brown.

As a parent, I’ve learned a few effective strategies over the years for those moments when chaos reigns in my house. 

Now, however, I would like to apply one of the old “effective parenting techniques” to the political circles of both Molly Munger and Gov. Jerry Brown: “TIME OUT!”

Please stop poking holes in each other’s efforts! Have you forgotten for whom you are advocating? Have you forgotten who loses if you both lose? Let me remind you: our kids! 

As the November election nears, I am absolutely appalled and heartbroken as I watch the teams behind Ms. Munger’s Proposition 38 and Gov. Brown’s Proposition 30 campaigns continue to take aim at each other in print  and on television.

I wish they would focus on the very important fact that if neither of these measures passes, the result will be that everyone loses, with devastating cuts to the budgets, programs, and campuses of every school in California. 

I will admit that I am not as politically “seasoned” as these campaigns; perhaps that explains why I am able to allow common sense to rule when I say that the two campaigns – both aimed at helping to better fund schools and improve our children’s education – should work in partnership, hand in hand, to do better by our kids.

Read More Here

Ed Source Article mentions Educate Our State

Rift Widens Between backers of Ed Initiatives 30 & 38

State Board of Education President Mike Kirst and Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg joined union leaders Monday in sending a strongly worded letter to Molly Munger, the primary backer of Proposition 38, asking her not to run TV ads criticizing Proposition 30, Gov. Jerry Brown’s school funding measure. Kirst also emailed PTA district presidentsimplying they should pressure Munger “to do all in your power to stop this destructive course of action.” Thestate PTA, bucking education groups representing school boards, unions, and administrators, is a co-sponsor, with Munger, of Prop 38.......

Munger has been ambiguous about encouraging a “yes” vote for both Props 30 and 38, as some education groups, including the California School Boards Association and the parent activist group Educate Our State, are promoting. The state PTA has not taken a position for or against Prop 30. In an interview with EdSource Today, she called Prop 30 the governor’s “band-aid approach” and said that voters would prefer Prop 38 once they learned more about it.

Read More Here 

On Election Day Your Local School Hangs in the Balance

Crystal Brown's Op-Ed on GOOD

On Tuesday, November 6 I’ll be doing what Americans nationwide will be doing: heading to the polls to elect a president. But, I also live in California, a state that in the last four years alone has seen public schools endure $20 billion in education cuts. On Election Day, I—and every other Californian—have the opportunity to show our support for public education by passing two education-focused initiatives, Proposition 30, the Schools & Local Safety Protection Act, and Proposition 38, Our Children Our Future. With these initiatives, we will send a message to our state leaders that the voting public cares about education and it should be a priority for our state once again.

Read More Here

Why Should You Vote YES on 30 and 38?

Take the confusion out of voting for education this November. Watch this!

Then take the pledge to vote "Yes for Education" by clicking here.


EOS launches a new video "Just say YES!"

Educate Our State Board President, Crystal Brown's Huffington Post Blog - Vote Twice for Education Over Politics

Californians and our political representatives have jointly presided over the demise of our once-heralded system of public education. Just how far has the once-mighty fallen? California now ranks 40th in per-pupil funding; our standardized testing scores now rank below almost every state in the nation, with only 25 percent of students at proficient levels (44th in math, 45th in reading); more than 180 school districts face major financial strain and are forced to borrow money (at high interest rates) to pay their bills; and class sizes have ballooned to near 40 students per teacher in many school districts.

From the elimination of preschool and shortened school years to tens of thousands of K-12 teacher layoffs and dramatic cutbacks (and simultaneous tuition increases) at universities, we have been pilfering from our children and the future of our state for more than 30 years. As the hangover from the financial crisis drags on, we face the very real prospect of even more staggering cuts to education, which will hinder California's economic prosperity for decades to come. It's time to get on the right path.

With this as the backdrop, I should be ecstatic that not one but two education-focused initiatives will be on the ballot this November. Proposition 30 provides approximately $8 billion, much of which is restitution funding for K-12 education, public colleges, and universities and new funds for pubic safety. Proposition 38 could provide $10 billion per year in new funding for K-12 education and preschool, including funds to offset some education funding losses triggered by the potential failure of Prop 30. Finally, the people of our state are using their collective voice to say that education matters!

Were it so simple.

As with almost everything in our day and age, education has become exceedingly politicized and "charged," potentially diluting a worthy cause beyond recognition. In the cases of Propositions 30 and 38, parents are led to believe that they must debate the pros and cons, strengths and weakness of two competing ballot measures, when they should focus their attention on the only goal that really matters: maintaining and improving California's public education for our children and our future. This false "competition" may, in fact, lead to a far more dire outcome than divided attention: a divided vote, which could lead to the failure of bothmeasures.

Who are the biggest losers if both initiatives fail? My kids, your kids, your neighbor's kids, the college kids who can't get their classes or afford the tuition increases -- in essence, the future workforce of California and the future economic stability of our state. Consider the long-term consequences of the loss of an additional three full weeks of instruction (after having already lost up to five days in recent years), ballooning class sizes, the shutting of school libraries, the elimination of physical education, the termination of reading specialists, and/or ongoing technological stagnation, among other possible budget remedies.

I recently watched Molly Munger, civil rights attorney and key figure behind Prop 38, "Our Children Our Future," describe the merits of her measure on NBC Class Action. Similarly, the governor has put out apublic service announcement describing his initiative and its benefits for the state budget. I have also sat through hours of meetings, conference calls, and convenings to understand each initiative in its intricacies. While there are many compelling aspects of each initiative from a parent's perspective, the truth of the matter is that while both are lacking, each is sufficient -- in its own way -- to provide a lifeline for our schools and the state's children during this devastating recession.

I ask that we bring a stop to the competition. The time has passed for comparing and contrasting these measures. If the governor and Molly Munger both want to save our schools and provide better opportunities for our state and our children, it is imperative that they put down their weapons and focus on playing together nicely in the sandbox.

As a parent of three young children who will suffer the consequences of our political irresponsibility if we allow both measures to fail, I am therefore voting "yes" on education by voting "yes" on both Proposition 30 and Proposition 38. "Are you paying attention?" as I often say to my children. The only way to give our children any chance of avoiding even more devastating cuts to their schools is a "yes" vote for both education measures. While the one with the most votes will be the only winning measure, our state's children will be out of the line of fire, temporarily, if at least one passes.

There is so much work ahead to completely renovate our education system, and that is just what we intend to continue to advocate for: a high-quality education for every child in this state. But the first step is not letting our entire system crash and burn.


Educate Our State launches the vote "Yes for Education" campaign

Parents Urge Californian's to Protect Public Education and Vote "Yes on Prop 30 and Yes on Prop 38!"

Press Release Here.

Camp Educate Two in N. Cali and S. Cali

Camp Educate - Your Vote, Your Voice - Yes for Education

The November election will be critical for public education - two education funding initiatives are on the ballot as well as many candidates who, once elected, will have an opportunity to make real change to California's public education system. We MUST mobilize supporters of public education - parents, grandparents, business leaders and community members - to ensure everyone is registered and ready to vote to save public education in November.

Interested in a Camp Educate in your area, click here.

Is it Education or Charity that Starts at Home?

There was a time when society believed that education started at home. That parents were the first line in the drive to achieve each child’s potential. But, those beliefs and objectives have been thwarted by another more insidious problem - a lack of funding in public education.

I was recently talking to a parent regarding the apparent apathy of parents in public schools. This rather sage parent pointed out to me that it’s not really apathy at work – it’s a lack of information. Parents are not informed because they are either working to support the household, or they are so busy volunteering to “save the schools” that they are unable to see what is going on in their own child’s life and in their own child’s classroom. Non-working parents are made to feel as though they are selfish and therefore must give back – sometimes in amounts well in excess of a normal work week.

Hours and hours are spent on fundraising so that every child can have a chance, but at what cost? That volunteer’s child suffers the consequences. No matter how much cache saying, “My mom ran the auction this year,” might have for the fifteen minutes during which it was relevant, it doesn’t make up for the fact that that child ate TV dinners for two weeks and had no help with her homework. It doesn’t make up for the fact that instead of watching her softball game, mom was putting labels on place cards and wearing wrinkled clothing because, “someone has to do it.” It doesn’t change the fact that that child was allowed to watch TV and play computer games because mom was too busy trying to raise enough money to save physical education, something that used to be a given in every school. It doesn’t change the fact that mom’s actions have actually been antithetical to her goal – what started out as an opportunity to help her child grow and succeed and be a part of an all-too short childhood has become nothing more than a quest to put a band aid on a gaping hole.

It seems as though the days of Beaver Cleaver and a true stay-at-home mom with nothing more to do than bake, iron and watch soap operas is a thing of the past. It yielded to the career mom who placed her child in daycare so as to ensure she could live the fullest life possible, which yielded to women who have tried to have the best of both worlds.

Now we have the career mom with management level skills running our auctions and bake sales and bringing in more dollars than ever. But at what price? And what about the schools who don’t have parents who are able to volunteer and fund raise? What happens to the kids who don’t have parent volunteers to teach PE or to run the school auction? Maybe that’s the next great business model – figuring out a way to outsource volunteer hours and fundraising.

This treadmill that leads to nowhere can’t go on forever. Education is an obligation and a promise made to future generations and it is up to us to ensure that that promise is fulfilled. Teachers, not parents, should be teaching our children so as to ensure a fair chance for all.

And, the State, not the parents, should be raising the funds to meet this task. The time is upon us. Wake up, California.


Article by Educate Our State Leaders, Teri Levy and Beth Chagonjian

Teri Levy is the mother of four daughters ages 2 to 12 and a founding leader of Educate Our State. Teri is a public school parent, was President of the PTA at her children’s school, and is responsible for the “Say No to Cuts” Campaign, which produced the successful public service announcement (PSA) video “Hot For Teachers”.
Beth Chagonjian is the daughter of a teacher and was educated in the California public school system through college.  She is the married mother of two children currently attending California schools.