California Educator

October 2011

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American Jobs Act benefits schools and colleges restoring trust and confidence, and teach- ers are feeling appreciated. I'm proud of my profession, colleagues and leaders in CUEA and CTA." "There comes a time when you have to take a stand and fight for what you believe in, and I can proudly say that I will be forever grateful that I made the choice to participate in the strike," says 15-year kindergarten teacher Lori Walker. "I learned that I could trust and lean on my fellow teachers who went out on strike with me. I do not regret for a sin- gle minute that I stood in unity with my brothers and sisters." "Teachers feel more cohesive," agrees chemistry/physics teacher and 14-year Capistrano veteran Greg Young. "The community knows now that CUEA members will stand united for our students, schools and community," says 14-year Spanish teacher Ezequiel Bar- ragan. "Teachers doing the unthinkable was precisely the wake-up call we needed. Never again will the CUSD community be complacent." By Bill Guy CALIFORNIA COULD SAVE 37,000 teaching jobs as well as obtain millions of dollars in federal funding to modernize dilapidated schools and colleges if President Obama's American Jobs Act is approved. The Jobs Act, introduced by the presi- dent in September, is designed to jump- start economic growth and job creation. The bill includes resources to prevent edu- cator layoffs and rebuild public schools and colleges. Calling for $30 billion to help pre- vent up to 280,000 teacher layoffs nation- wide, the Jobs Act could save 37,000 educator jobs in California. Despite an uphill battle that is expected in Congress, rep- resentatives from California's congressional delegation joined CTA, the superintendent of public instruction and several community organizations at a number of events in San Jose, Sacramento, Modesto and Los Angeles in support of the act. The bill received a setback on Oct. 11 when the Senate blocked consideration of the $447 billion bill. However, portions of the bill may still come before the body later this month. In addition to helping prevent teacher layoffs, the American Jobs Act would pro- vide funds to modernize at least 35,000 pub- lic schools and colleges across the country, supporting new science labs, Internet-ready classrooms, and renovations in rural and urban schools. The president also proposed a $5 billion investment in modernizing community colleges. Speaking at a Modesto news confer- ence at Mark Twain Junior High School with state Superintendent Tom Torlakson, Modesto Teachers Association President Dana Filippi spoke to the need for modern- ization funds. "Mark Twain Junior High School, like CUEA President Vicki Soderberg speaks to a television reporter during the three-day strike in April 2010. many of our schools in Modesto, is now 60 years old. It's got good bones, but the years have taken their toll," Filippi said. "President Obama's plan to set aside money to renovate public school facilities and build or update science and computer labs would go a long way in offsetting the cuts we've had in education funding here in Modesto and throughout California." In San Jose, Marisa Hanson, president of the East Side Teachers Association, talked about how the federal funds could prevent further layoffs. "Our high school counselors each have caseloads of about 1,000 students, an impossible ratio. Library cuts mean our students get two choices: only one day Calling for $30 billion to help prevent up to 280,000 teacher layoffs nationwide, the Jobs Act could save 37,000 educator jobs in California. a week of library access, or only one hour a day," Hanson said. "Restoring more teachers to the classroom will help protect the future work force of Silicon Valley, and the future of our state." The president pushed the bill at a White House news conference on Oct. 5, and he castigated Republicans for putting Wall Street before Main Street. "It's now up to all the senators and hopefully all the members of the House to explain to their constitu- encies why they would be opposed to com- monsense ideas that historically have been supported by Democrats and Republicans in the past," he said, adding that Wall Street protests are "giving voice to a more broad- based frustration about how our financial system works." By Dina Martin October 2011 / 31

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