To Governor Brown and co.:
On Oct. 30 to 31st students, teachers, and education workers from across California came together to decide on common demands and a mobilization plan to continue the struggle to maintain and expand public education and oppose plans to defund and dismantle it .Cuts to public education have been occurring for decades in California but over the last year the attacks on public education have escalated with massive budget cuts, that layoff teachers and staff, close schools and departments, and a general lack of accountable, transparent, democratic governance at all levels. We demand that newly-elected Governor Jerry Brown recognize the importance of fully-funded public education as critical to both improving the lives of millions of Californians and the welfare of the California economy in general. A recent statewide poll showed that 2/3 of the California people want higher education to be a top priority for governor-elect Jerry Brown (SFGate, November 18, 2010). As a popularly elected leader, it is your duty to respond to the will of the people of California and the demands f of pre- K-12 and University students and workers who compose the future economy and society of California.
In recent years state funding for public schools (K-12) has been slashed by many billions of dollars, resulting in teacher layoffs, larger class sizes, elimination of librarians, nurses and counselors, and ending programs such as music, art, and ethnic studies. Many schools are in such dire financial straits that they are charging parents fees for books and other essential educational supplies. Disparities and inequalities in educational opportunities between affluent and non-affluent schools and districts are growing ever wider.
As we fight for our right to an education, there is an increasing effort to criminalize and repress our movement. We condemn the recent brutalization of student protestors at the UC Regents meeting on Nov. 17 at UCSF Mission Bay, where unarmed demonstrators were assaulted, pepper sprayed, arrested, and even threatened with being shot by an officer with his gun drawn. We believe that a high-quality, accessible, affordable education is a human right which should never be under attack either in the form of budget cuts or state repression. The following are our demands to be incorporated into Governor Brown’s administration:
• Free, quality public education from pre-K to graduate school as a fundamental human right.
• No to privatization and austerity.
• Tax the rich and corporations.
• Democratic governance of the educational system.
• End discrimination based upon race, gender, sexual orientation and class. Immediate full legalization of all immigrants, reverse the ban on Affirmative action and equal access to public education.
Governor Brown, California is the 8th largest economy in the world. The money is here in California to fully fund public education and public services if you could find the political will to do so in a just and fair manner. We urge you stop the cuts on education and vital social services, & to raise revenue by taxing the rich.
Until you do so, we will continue mobilizing city by city and school by school to stop this project of privatization of our education. To that end, we are calling for a mass Day of Mobilization in Defense of Public Education on March 2nd.
The Statewide Coordinating Committee