Tuesday, June 2, 2009

LOBBYING FOR EDUCATION


Our trip to Sacramento yesterday was a huge success!


We were able to take 5 students and 5 teachers onto the senate floor when they went into session. After the prayer and the pledge, Senator Mark DeSaulnier introduced us to the senate while the other teachers, parents, and family members watched from the gallery. We sat in on the senate session and experienced our state lawmaking process in action (much more casual than we expected). Sen. DeSaulnier knelt down beside us for much of the time talking to us about the process and his views. After about an hour, we left the floor and went into a hallway outside where the senator listened while the teachers, parents, and students shared their experiences with the recent budget cuts to education:

- Mr. Cuizon introduced our group and the intention of our visit; we were there to impress upon him, and other lawmakers, how important educational funding is and to implore them to consider our stories when in the process of making laws and balancing the budget.
- Ms. Machado spoke about the effect on our own school and how it felt to have a pink slip served and then rescinded.
- Ms. Adler told her story of multiple status changes and the uncertainty she has been dealing with for months now.
- Mrs. Hood shared the story of her and her husband's loss of employment in the district and the effect it is having on their family.
- Mrs. Murphy talked about the journalism class and their activism, as well as the feeling of being a non-pink slipped teacher and the fight she felt she needed to be a part of for her friends and colleagues.
- Mrs. Eitzel spoke of feelings and concerns that our students' parents are going through due to the cuts in funding. She mentioned a serious concern for the future and safety of MDUSD's students if the program and personnel cuts go through.
- Our 5 students took turns sharing their letters and thoughts very eloquently (making us all very proud).


Senator DeSaulnier listened to us all and spoke to our group at the end. He shared his concerns and urged the students to stay active. We then handed over the letters/DVD the students of EDMS wrote and created for him and thanked him for his time as he headed back to the floor of the senate.

Next, our group took our message to the office of another local lawmaker, CA Assemblyman Tom Torlakson. He too was in session at the time, but his Chief of Staff Richard Zeiger welcomed our (unannounced) visit and took a great deal of time to talk to our group about the current state crisis and the importance of our kids' diligence in staying active and informed. We dropped off letters and asked him to forward our message to Asm. Torlakson.

Finally, we took the students' letters which were addressed to the governor down to Arnold Schwarzenegger's office. Mr. Cuizon went in and delivered them to the governor's secretary.


It was a great day due to the help of the amazing staff in Mark DeSaulnier's office. Thank you to Lia Muñoz and Lynne Shields especially. You have made our movement here in Concord feel important and meaningful on a larger level and we appreciate the work you're doing.

Thanks also to the amazing parents of our 7th graders. Your children are a reflection of your passion and integrity and I'm sure you are deeply (and justifiably) proud of the people they have become.

23 comments:

Mrs. Machado said...

I can't say it enough...
Our students were SO impressive at the capitol. Their messages were powerful and honest. If nothing else comes of our visit, at least the lawmakers looked into the faces of the future and heard their voices.

Denise said...

I am very pround of students and our staff!! Monday was a wonderful experience for us all. I would like to thank the senator for taking the taking time with us even when his staff was trying to wisk him away. I was happy he let us all finish saying what we had to say, took time to respond and then left with his aides. We appreciate his time and support.

El Dorado - You Rock!!

Daniel Haley said...

Thanks for continuing to fight the good fight-- you guys are the best. It saddens me to say this but if I'm not back at EDMS next year, I'll truly miss all of you.

Concerned Community Member said...

The good fight it is! More cuts at the board meeting last night. Where is the light at the end of the tunnel? Your efforts are inspiring!

Anonymous said...

On http://cbs5.com today (June 3) the article "Mt. Diablo School District Slashes Budget By $29M" has an informative video about the board meeting last night.

Roy Cuizon said...

WE WILL BE PROTESTING THIS FRIDAY MORNING (6-5) FOR THE REMAINING SLIPPED TEACHERS. SAME PLACE, SAME TIME. PLEASE JOIN US AND WEAR PINK.

Nancy said...

The tone was set and our heart felt messages heard. It was a great day.
I'm so proud of our EDMS students and teachers!

Wendy M said...

I was so impressed with our visit to the Capitol. Our students made me very proud!!

Tom said...

This is a shining example of democracy in action - an opportunity to be seen and have your voices heard. Thanks to everyone who made the journey to the Capitol, and who have made such a great effort over the past several months. You make us all proud.

Tom said...

This is a shining example of democracy in action - an opportunity to be seen and to have your voices heard. Thanks to everyone who made the journey to the Capitol, and for your great efforts over the past few months. You make us all proud.

James said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Denise said...

I am once again so very proud of our teachers. I think the teachers that took a stand on friday to support the teachers who are still pink-slipped and to send a message to the state that the current funding situation in our district is unacceptable are a shining example to their students and colleagues. All I can say to each of you is = Thank You!!

Anonymous said...

I'm a parent with a kid at edms. Our parents support what you do to raise awareness. All of them do!

Father of a kid in the district said...

An estimated 200 teachers are going to lose their jobs. Schools will have to comp that by cutting more programs and restructuring their class schedules to offer the bare requirements. I support all the efforts of edms teachers. I just wish more schools would jump on board with their activism. It would be nice to see all schools in our district do what they have been doing on Fridays.

Anonymous said...

I'm a teacher that likes to keep my privacy. I don't like having my name all over the internet. These teachers are courageous. They are standing up for our community and our schools. They have been in multiple articles raising awareness. They were on 2 different channels on TV on Friday raising that awareness. They traveled up to the capitol to raise awareness. At my school, teachers are not that active. I wish they were.

Anonymous said...

The message those teachers send is great. Last week they went to the capitol to talk with lawmakers. What other schools are doing that? I am in full support. Heck, my daughter said they had a senator out there on Friday. What other school is speaking that loud?

Anonymous said...

I'm a parent/community member and I appreciate what you guys are doing.

Anonymous said...

Awesome job on Friday.

Anonymous said...

You guys rawk!

Anonymous said...

We support you guys! Even last Friday!

Anonymous said...

The last comment was pulled. We do appreciate your response and hope you feel free to email us anytime to discuss your concerns further.

Anonymous said...

MDUSD bus drivers support you!

Anonymous said...

Democracy in action- It is awesome that you guys are standing up for our community. Who else will? Most people just sit on the sidelines watching events take place.