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School Beat: Taking Action in a State of Emergency

May is turning into a month of action on the part of public education supporters. From parent groups to the University of California system, teachers, administrators, parents, students and advocates will be engaged in a variety of actions to convey to elected officials and the public the seriousness of the financial crisis our schools are facing. Since the effort to get a vote on tax extensions onto a June ballot failed, there has been an eerie period of relative calm, but that is an illusory state, a quiet before the storm.

Schools, along with other critical services, have been left in a financial limbo where they must continue to operate, but must plan for unknown levels of cuts that may come in an unpredictable schedule, with unfamiliar, unacceptable changes to classrooms. Across the state, teachers are facing layoffs, class sizes are being increased, and program offerings are being reduced. Just recently in the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD), community members at the high school level were fighting to save a long-established music program and third year foreign language classes. 

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