California Educator

February 2013

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> L E G I S L AT I V E O U T L O O K Educators to legislators Hats off to the six CTA members elected in 2012 to state and federal office! Their victories ensure educators have a stronger political voice. B Y S H E R RY P O S N I C K - G O O D W I N PHOTOS BY SCOTT BUSCHMAN JOSE MEDINA, State Assembly District 61, D-Riverside, Riverside City Teachers Association U.S. government teacher Jose Medina���s students got a ���rsthand lesson in civics by volunteering to campaign for him. Some young campaigners were his former students at Poly High School, while others sat in his class at Lincoln Continuation School in Riverside last year. A longtime member of the Riverside Community College District Board of Trustees, Medina���s leadership helped to expand job-training programs and upgrade classrooms and science labs. One of the first things I���d like to do��� is obtain funding for UC Riverside School of Medicine. It has been accredited, but now requires $15 million in state funding. It will boost the economy and address the shortage of doctors in the Riverside Area. It will bring more diversity to the medical profession. When teachers lobby legislators��� They should convey exactly how legislative decisions will directly impact their classrooms. How will legislation affect class size? How will the budget affect the number of counselors at their schools? Provide something speci���c. SHARON QUIRK-SILVA, State Assembly District 65, D-Fullerton, Fullerton Elementary Teachers Association The former Fullerton mayor and city council member, Sharon Quirk-Silva stunned the incumbent with a come-from-behind win. She sent letters to the parents of her third- and fourth-graders in the gifted program at Richman Elementary School explaining that she was not leaving their children; instead, she would be looking out for them in Sacramento because education is her top priority. My top goal��� is providing access to community college and reinstating some of the classes that were closed. Students need to be able to get through community college in two years instead of three to ���ve years. Students are languishing because they can���t get the courses they need and aren���t able to transfer. Students are losing hope and not moving forward. We���ve got to do better. Being a teacher prepared me for this new role��� Who better to ���ght for our kids, for a quality education, than a teacher who works every single day in the real world? When I go to Sacramento, I���ll be doing what I���ve always done ��� meeting challenges head-on to ���nd solutions. At my core I���m a problem solver. I���m not afraid to take on tough issues. Advice for teacher advocates? Your ���rst time visiting a legislator should not be your last; make sure it���s the beginning of a relationship. Give legislators one or two speci���c things you would like to see happen. Write it down and give it to us so we can follow up. If you don���t hear back in a timely fashion, follow up! SHIRLEY WEBER, State Assembly District 79, D-San Diego, California Faculty Association Shirley Weber senses a ���new optimism��� with the passage of Prop. 30, and now that she���s a legislator, she wants to make sure that Prop. 30 goes to schools so people don���t feel ���tricked��� again. Nothing is more important than closing the achievement gap, says Weber, who chaired the Africana studies program at San Diego State University and also taught at CSU Los Angeles and Los Angeles City College. I���m looking for various ways��� to improve inner-city school instruction. If we don���t rescue inner-city public schools, we will lose that battle to charters. We need to improve the educational experience of every kid in the state. That involves a number of things including staff development and teacher training. We don���t have time to waste, and there needs to be a sense of urgency. I believe it���s important��� to have another CSU in the San Diego County area. We need to have one close to the border in the Chula Vista area and enough universities around the state to meet the needs of students who can���t afford to go away to school. It might have been a deal breaker if I had to go away. Education advocates should consider��� that when they come to me with a problem, they also have a reasonable solution that will help solve the problem and at the same time not break the bank. 18 California Educator February 2013

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