On Tuesday, March 30, 2010, MSJ teachers gathered on Palm Ave. and Mission Blvd. before and after school to protest the proposed budget cuts. Teachers from all subject areas and grade levels held signs with messages such as “My Family Got a Pink Slip!” and “Larger Classes = Poor Writing Skills” and passed out fliers to passing cars and students. Although the majority of the protesters were teachers, an email went out before the protest inviting the entire staff to bring people to join them. In fact, some students protested along with the teachers, including Freshmen Jasper Hsieh, Michael Lindsey and Vishal Shah, who were protesting for English teacher Lili Kim, in particular. “She’s my favorite teacher…they should keep the teachers,” says Hsieh.
Even though it was raining slightly before the morning protest started, the teachers showed up because they believe that this demonstration will have an effect. “One ripple leads to a wave, and a wave will make an impact. The goal is to get the community informed and for them to understand the impact this will have not just on the teachers but the students as well,” said English teacher Samantha Wainwright.
After school, there was a smaller number of teachers, but they continued to hold signs on Palm Ave. and pass out informational fliers. The fliers had a list of services and opportunities that the students might not have if the budget cuts go through, including “Lower Mission Rankings” and “Fewer AP Classes”. The flyer contained contact information for various School Board members and State Representatives, and a question—“Why is the Chop in the Classroom not from the Top?”
US History Teacher Tony Belotti states that the teachers’ main concern is that “the responsibility for our students’ education is shared equally” and “everyone shares cuts equally.” The protest was in support of the students, all of the staff, not just the teachers, and the administration, because “nobody is not affected by these cuts,” according to Belotti.
Protests aren’t just happening at MSJ, though. Teachers at other schools are taking action, as well. The Teachers’ Union is also constantly informing the teachers of any updates.
Overall, the teachers make it clear that they are protesting for everyone, so everyone takes an equal burden from the cuts. Belotti says, “In a time of economic recession, when there are significant budget cuts, it is important that everyone has a shared sacrifice in real terms—financial and pedagogical.”
Written by Sonia Dhawan
Apr 11, 2010 at 09:12 AM