FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, January 9, 2014
“We are heartened to see that the Governor’s proposed budget acknowledges the crisis in funding in our educational system and the state’s social services, but it will not support the necessary and vital changes we need immediately to protect students in our schools and colleges now against becoming a gap generation that suffers from our cutbacks,” said Joshua Pechthalt, President of the California Federation of Teachers. “Today is a rainy day. Until 2012, when we passed Prop 30, we have spent the last two decades not only cutting education funding to the bone but borrowing against our future. It’s not good enough to just pay our debt, we need to pay it back with interest – making sure today’s children and college students have the resources they need in our schools and in our communities to be successful tomorrow.”
“The importance of Prop 30 is shown in a budget that increases, rightly, funding in all education, health and human services, and other needed areas that were decimated under the previous administration,” added CFT Secretary-Treasurer Jeff Freitas. “However, in K-12 education, the Governor has focused only on paying off deferrals and re-distributing existing funds instead of addressing the central barrier to student success: poverty in and around our schools. We need to connect health and human services with the educational system. We need to provide critical resources including health professionals, mental health services and after school opportunities like open libraries if we truly want to protect California’s future. With economic disparity more profound than at any point since the Great Depression, this is a time to be bold, not cautious.”
“Addressing these issues should be Gov. Brown’s bequest to California, the focus of his next and last term,” said Pechthalt. “Gov. Brown is in the home stretch of his career, and these next few years will be remembered. As the Governor pushes hard on legacy-builders like the High Speed Rail project and the Delta tunnels, I hope he remembers that education is lasting infrastructure, too. In fact, it is the most vital form of infrastructure there is. Without an educated population, our economy and democracy will never truly be sound, no matter how much we save.”
The 325,000-member CTA is affiliated with the 3.2 million-member National Education Association. The California Federation of Teachers is the statewide affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers, and represents faculty and school employees in public and private schools and colleges, from early childhood through higher education.