California Educator

June/July 2022

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Juneteenth, June 19 J U N E T E E N T H C O M M E M O R A T E S the end of slavery in the United States. Last year it became the 11th holiday recognized by the federal government. Celebrated by African Americans since the late 1800s, Juneteenth in recent times has promoted and cultivated knowledge and appreciation of African American history and culture. Following the nationwide social upheaval in the past few years — in the wake of the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and other Black Americans — Juneteenth focuses on freedom and social justice. Classroom discussion (on Juneteenth and throughout the year) can help give students voice to advocate for their own narratives and experiences, and surface those that have been erased or forgotten. It can also empower students to connect with their communities and to become advocates in a diverse democracy. Find more at Take Action to Stop Gun Violence W E A L L S H O U L D be able to send our children to school knowing they will be safe and taken care of. But in Uvalde, Texas, it happened again — another day of horror and grief. Another school turned from a center of safety and learning to a place of violence; another community dealing with the loss of their children, siblings and friends. "Our elected leaders need to pass laws that protect children from gun violence and bring an end to senseless and preventable killings," said NEA President Becky Pringle. "My message to Congress: What are you waiting for?" Demand common-sense gun laws to prevent violence in our schools and communities — now. Email your elected o•icials now at Boost for Students, Schools A U.S. Department of Education (ED) announcement of $220 million in investments from government, private and public sectors in April has resulted in multiple initiatives underway now to help students, schools and communities recover from the pandemic. These initiatives suppor t student academic and mental health recover y as par t of the ED's effor t with American Rescue Plan funds, and include: • 2022 summer learning and enrichment opportunities, including summer camp- school partnerships; • $17 million from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for high-impact tutoring; • $14.4 million in grants from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation throughout 2022 to support afterschool across the country; • $10 million from the Raikes Foundation to support organizations aimed at accelerating learning and expanding access to mental health supports. The full list is at •e Case for More Money A R E C E N T N E W S S T O R Y finds that low teacher pay and skyrocketing inflation are exacerbating school sta•ing problems in the state. In "California Public Schools Are Losing Underpaid Teachers at a Steep Rate" (at, one example finds the turnover rate of teachers and sta• in the Salinas area to be more than 10 percent a year. A big factor contributing to this is the entry level salary for middle and high school teachers in Salinas, the largest city in Monterey County: $48,000. New teachers, especially, struggle to live on low salaries in increasingly pricey areas. An Economic Policy Institute analysis shows that public educators earned 19.2 percent less than their nonteaching peers; when adjusted for inflation, there has been no change in teacher compensation over the past 20 years. Suggested solutions include fixing the state funding structure or convincing local taxpayers to pay higher taxes. The story makes clear that we must act with urgency to pay educators better wages or risk losing even more. 11 J U N E / J U L Y 2 0 2 2

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