Tuesday, March 31, 2009


The times are uncertain. 600 plus teachers and staff throughout the Mt. Diablo Unified School District are losing their jobs. 43% of the staff at El Dorado Middle School have been given pink slips. Tension is high and morale is low. The staff at El Dorado are not the only ones feeling the effects of this budget crisis. Our students are feeling the effects as well. My students are constantly asking questions about what will happen next year and sharing their concerns with me. I think it is important that their voices be heard. These children are not only students, they are the future. Here is what they have to say.

Wendy Murphy
7th Grade Core Teacher
El Dorado Middle School

I feel that the government really doesn't care about our education ight now. Chances are that if we don’t have electives and other classes, colleges won’t accept us. Most people want the people that work for them to be educated. For example, parents want their child's teachers to know about what they are teaching. Also, they want the people who work on their cars to know what the problem is and how to fix it. If we don’t have electives, or we can't get into a good college, we wiLl not be able to learn the right things to complete our jobs.


My opinion on the crisis we have in California is that by cutting eachers, electives, libraries etc. is bad. Without some electives, your entrance into college is lower. That affects me because I want to get a good job and have a good life. Another thing is, when you cut out an elective the classes available will decrease, be more boring, and attract less interest. Sports are what helps you get into college also. Libraries are a big issue too because you need to do research. Most teachers use the library. The uses are for reading, research, projects, etc. Cutting all this stuff could cause more delinquency too. Social skills are important in life. We need stuff like this for our future.


What we face at school in these times are far worse than back in the day of our parents' education. No, I'm not talking about violence, I'm talking about budget cuts. Yeah, schools are losing money. Remember money?? You know, the coins and bills with a cash value? Comes in handy once in a while. Well, schools already won’t have a lot of it and we, the schools, are seeing more money fly out the window. Teachers are getting pink slips, which means they are losing their jobs. Not as in getting "fired", but as in getting laid off. But don’t think that it is only affecting teachers because it's not. Students, the future of America, are a big part of it.
Losing electives, teachers, and sports are some of the ways that students are suffering. Being a student myself, I know how bad this is. Yeah, really bad. Muy malo, comprende? I'm not gonna take force, but listen this once. SOS! Save Our Schools!!


Even in 7th grade, students are thinking about their future. Unfortunately, though, our future is murky. The Mt. Diablo Unified School District is making numerous cuts to schools. Electives that are available one year may not be the next. Features such as
libraries and computer labs may disappear. The California budget crisis is greatly affecting schools, teachers, and their students. Recently over 600 teachers in the district received pink slips. To compensate for the lower number of staff, class sizes may rise, greatly affecting students and teachers. Electives that teach students skills that others don’t may be cut. High School sports may not be available next year, which eliminates scholarship opportunities. Cutting electives may affect student attendance
rates. For some kids, electives are their initiative to go to school. Without elective courses, their may be an increase in drop-outs and absences which cause the district money. If class sizes increase, students may also be affected. A larger class can be more difficult to control. A teacher may not have as much time to help struggling students.
If these cuts continue, what will be left of our schools? Will students only be learning the basics (english, science, math, history)? Kids are the future. Is this how we are being prepared?


I think that schools cutting down on sports is going to effect me a lot. It will effect me because I am good at basketball and I will rely on basketball to get me a scholarship. This will help me get into college. If they cut out sports in high school, then it's
going to be a lot harder for me to get a better education. This will affect my future tremendously.


It would be very sad if the library, electives, and sports are cut next year. Everyday I come to school I may not look forward to math or science, but I to look forward to learning more spanish and writing articles. I bet a lot of kids love their electives like I do mine. If the electives are cut out then lots of students, like myself, would lose interest in coming to school and that would lead to more dropouts. If the library is cut out I don’t know how I would be able to do reports and other things like that. My mom doesn't take me to the public library and I don’t have time for that anyways. I don’t think I'm the only one who can use a library only during school. If the sports are cut out of high school then a lot of kids would be devastated. Some students don’t have that many book smarts so they depend on sports to get into a good college. Maybe if they're lucky and talented enough they would get a scholarship. We really should keep these things.


I think laying off teachers is a bad idea because we're not going to know that much and other kids are going to ditch.


Okay. You all know about the budget cuts, and you all know it is affecting our schools.
I mean, okay, maybe not ALL of you know, but for the clueless people who have been living under rocks, here's what's happening. Over 600 pink slips have been handed out to teachers. Seriously?! ya seriously, with less teachers, electives, music, sports, and libraries are getting shut down. Wow, no fun classes, no sports, no books, no research....just good old, classic math, english, social studies, and science......BORING!
I speak for only myself (no I speak for all kids in school) no one wants to sit in a classroom for seven hours a day only doing four boring subjects. I mean come on people! Think of the kids. All I am trying to say is this......This whole thing is stupid!!! Thank you fellow students having a boring day.


Sunday, March 29, 2009


What did everyone think of the demonstration on Friday? Besides staff and students, we had a few parents, a supportive board member, and our first reporter present (Thank you Michael). A slideshow of our second demonstration will be up soon. Also, be sure to check out the coverage we got on the following link. So far, that blog has 90 comments and counting. The most comments for a blog on that site, for that particular day. Lastly, 721 additional California teachers received pink slips this past week. That brings the total number to 27,886.


Monday, March 23, 2009


As we get ready for this Friday's demonstration, please remember that safety is our number one priority. We anticipate a larger crowd than last week's demonstration. The buzz is out, so we might see organized parent demonstrations and organized student demonstrations. It is important that teachers are NOT passing out flyers to cars this week. We would not want students to follow that lead. However, we may pass out flyers to community members walking by. While out there, student safety is our number one concern. Let us work together to keep an eye out for students. Can't wait til Friday!

Saturday, March 21, 2009


The employees of El Dorado took to the streets on Friday morning. We were out along Concord Blvd. with signs and flyers informing our community of the current education crisis at the national, state, and local levels. The honks, shouting, waving, and showing of support from our neighbors were inspiring. Many of our former students, now going to school across the street at Concord High, stopped to talk to us and ask about our cause. The students of El Dorado were lining up with us to holler at the cars. Some were even using the backs of their poster projects to make signs to hold up themselves! Thank you to all of the teachers, staff, students, and community members who made this first demonstration a success. SEE YOU ALL NEXT FRIDAY ... and every Friday until the election!!


On March 13th, around the state, teachers and other school staff were given notice that their services may not be needed in the 2009 - 2010 school year. Here in the Mt. Diablo Unified School District, over 600 pink slips were issued. These layoff notices hit the mailboxes of 43% of EDMS staff. The scope of these cuts is wide-spread; we could potentially lose teachers, custodians, campus supervisors, administrators and our librarian. And the cuts have not stopped! Some of those affected here at El Dorado have been serving our school and community for over 10 years. These people are not only qualified and dedicated educators and professionals, but the heart and soul of our school.

It is easy to feel helpless and discouraged in the face of uncertainty. Our district is having to cut millions of dollars from the budget and these cuts keep getting deeper each day. This is going to seriously effect the quality of education the children of our community will receive.

Not only as educators, but as members of this very community ourselves, we can't just sit idly by and watch schools take this kind of hit without a fight. We care about our school, our colleagues, and especially our students too much for that! It is for all of these people that we have joined together to do what we can to slow the bleeding.

Here's where you can help:
There is a measure on the ballot for the upcoming election on May 19th that will provide 7 million dollars a year to our district. This help comes in the form of a parcel tax of $99/year. These funds would be used to reverse some devastating program and personnel cuts. We are reaching out to our community to VOTE YES ON MEASURE D and save our schools!