On April 3 2019, more than 350 people representing every corner of the Alameda County's educational community gathered on the South Steps of the State Capitol in Sacramento to rally in advocacy of increased funding for public education in California. The rally was organized by the newly formed East Bay Coalition for Public Education, a group made up of teachers and classified employee unions, superintendents, school board presidents, parents and students from around Alameda County.

The day included a 90-minute rally with speeches from representatives of the Coalition as well as state legislators. In addition, groups of Coalition representatives met with individual legislators to spread the message that "Our students deserve more."

Alameda County students joined in the rally.
Members of "The Angry Retired Teachers' Band" energized the rally with refashioned activist rock n roll.
The coalition is made up of unions, school boards, superintendents and students & parents from Alameda County.
Joe K'ue Angeles, New Haven Teachers Association President

"This is the first time ever that teachers' unions, superintendents, and California school board members are all in the same conversation to change this up." —Joe K'ue Angeles, New Haven Teachers Association President

Rick Wathen, California Teachers Association, speaks with Alameda County Superintendent of Schools L. Karen Monroe.
Rob Bonta, California Assemblymember and co-author of California Assembly Bill 39
Neva Rowden, CSEA - Paraeducator, San Leandro Unified School District
Dot Theodore, School Board President, Castro Valley USD
(L to R) Catherine Brown, Teacher of the Year; Jean Josey, Dublin Parent; Megan Rouse, School Board Trustee
Al Muratsuchi, California Assemblymember and author of California Assembly Bill 39
Rebecca Bauer-Kahan, California Assemblymember and principle co-author of California Assembly Bill 39

Among the key issues brought forth by rally speakers:

  • Funding for California public schools has been insufficient for decades.
  • Some funding has been restored recently under the Local Control Funding Formula, but it is not enough.
  • California ranks among the bottom ten states in the U.S. in annual per-pupil spending.
  • When the state fails to invest in public schools, students suffer. Art and music programs disappear. Science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) is pared back to the minimum levels required under law.
  • Class sizes increase with less funding.
  • Schools in urban areas struggle to recruit and retain teachers with salaries that do not cover the costs of living in the area.
L. Karen Monroe, Alameda County Superintendent of Schools
Alameda County superintendents gather on the Capitol steps: (L to R) Sean McPhetridge, Alameda USD; Quiauna Scott, Emery USD; Kim Wallace, Fremont USD; Arlando Smith, New Haven USD; L. Karen Monroe, Alameda County Superintendent of Schools (at the podium); Parvin Ahmadi, Castro Valley USD; Val Williams, Albany USD; David Haglund, Pleasanton USD.

The East Bay Coalition for Public Education supports:

  • State passage of a budget that allocates additional funding to public schools this year and over the next several years.
  • Support of lawmakers who commit to funding AB39 in the state budget.
  • Increase funding in the Local Control Funding Formula to allow high schools to offer a full range of college and career preparation options.
  • Provide additional support for special education.
  • Provide additional support for English language learners.
  • Provide a broad range of professional development opportunities for new and veteran teachers.
  • Implement strategies designed to enhance student achievement and close the achievement gap.
Michaela Weinstein, Albany Unified Student Board Member (at podium) with Deepak Ragu, Pleasanton Unified Student Board Member (left) and Alex Kwan, Castro Valley Unified Student Board Member (center)
Members of the East Bay Coalition for Public Education headed into the Governor's Office to advocate for more funds for public education.

Among the solutions sought by the Coalition is support for Assembly Bill (AB) 39, which allocates additional funding to public schools.

Jennifer Johnson, Deputy Legislative Secretary, Office of Governor Gavin Newson (left) with Alameda County Superintendent of Schools L. Karen Monroe
Rob Bonta, California Assemblymember, addresses the rally crowd.

For more information on school funding inadequacy in California go to acoe.org/funding.

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