CTA Pres. Eric Heins and State Supt. Tom Torlakson join the “Support tunnel” in Oakland
The California Teachers Association led a massive social justice-focused Day of Action today across the state in which thousands of educators, administrators, students, parents and community supporters rose up together to protect public education and send the message that all students deserve safe schools.
Educators kicked off the Day of Action with a news conference at an Oakland elementary school featuring CTA President Eric Heins, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, parents, teachers and students all demanding that public schools must be safe havens for all students.
“Public education is a basic civil right. It was profoundly inspiring today to see the solidarity, camaraderie, commitment and support for each other that we witnessed at public schools up and down the Golden State today,” said Heins. “The message to the White House and this administration was made loud and clear that California is not going to allow them to dismantle or privatize public education. Together, we stand up for the right of all students to feel safe and respected at school. On behalf of our 325,000 CTA members and the 6 million students we teach and work with every day, thank you to everyone who took part in our Day of Action.”
State schools chief Torlakson has urged all California school districts to declare themselves safe havens for students. “All across California, students, parents and community members are walking in to school together today to show that schools must be safe for everyone,” Torlakson said. “Students have a right to public education, regardless of their family’s immigration status.”
CTA Vice President Theresa Montaño was with Alhambra Unified School District educators, students and parents for a “walk-in” solidarity event where all entered school together this morning. “Educators will continue to resist all federal policies that hurt our students,” she said. “The hateful rhetoric and bullying of DREAMers, immigrant children, LGBT students, Muslims and others must stop. Today was about our united front for a future that strengthens our public schools and respects all students.”
CTA Secretary-Treasurer David Goldberg was with the community of educators, parents, administrators and supporters in the Burbank Unified School District. “I’m very proud to be part of CTA as we take actions at school sites across California and join a broader movement for immigrant rights and educational justice today,” Goldberg said. “This social justice-inspired groundswell of local resistance to all White House attempts to frighten students and dismantle public education will only continue to build.”
With its historical roots dating back to 1886, May 1st has long been linked to a day to honor international workers’ rights. More recently, May Day became a national day of action to raise awareness about immigration rights and the need to keep families together as they struggle for a better life. The day coincided with a national day to take back our schools organized by the Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools.
Among all the hundreds of school activities, local educators asked the public to take the CTA pledge to support public education by signing the petition at www.cta.org/ForAllStudents. The pledge is inspired by CTA’s research-based Advocacy Agenda to provide students with the quality education they all deserve. New CTA radio ads about the pledge are here.
Educators who took part in statewide activities shared the following remarks for attribution:
“We want to demonstrate our unwavering support for all our students. We want to ensure that all of our schools remain safe and are able to provide our students with what they need to be successful in the 21st century. We ask all Californians and the Burbank community to join us in pledging their support for a strong, inclusive, safe, adequately funded, and innovative public education system.” — Diana Abasta, Burbank Teachers Association President
“In this time of crisis and resistance, when so many of our students and their families are threatened by the racist rhetoric and inhumane policies coming out of Washington, and as the Trump/DeVos privatization agenda threatens our public schools, we are joining our communities today to fight for immigrant rights as well as economic, social, and educational justice. Together, we demonstrate there is strength in numbers and power in solidarity. Together, we will resist.” — Alex Caputo-Pearl, United Teachers Los Angeles President
“Oakland Education Association members affirmed today that our public ‘Schools Are For Everyone’, as in ‘S.A.F.E.,’ at our sites this morning. We joined with our community in a march for immigrant and workers’ rights in the afternoon to build the collective strength to have the schools, city, state, and country ALL Oakland children deserve!” — Trish Gorham, Oakland Education Association President
“Fremont and Newark educators are working together today to show our communities that we support inclusive and safe public schools for ALL students by marching at a location where our two cities meet. Opportunities like today’s CTA Day of Action to unite for students make our public schools even greater.” — Sherea Westra, Fremont Unified District Teachers Association President
“Members of the Desert Sands Teachers Association believe that all students deserve time to learn and teachers deserve time to teach. A child is more than a test score!” — Mona Davidson, Desert Sands Teachers Association President
“Today, on May 1, the day when all labor stands together in solidarity, our schools are standing together for public education. In San Ramon Valley, we know that in order to provide a quality education for ALL students, we believe that our schools must be inclusive of everyone no matter where you were born, who you love, what you believe in, or the color of your skin. A free public education is a BASIC civil right!” — Ann Katzburg, San Ramon Valley Education Association President
“We are uniting with school board trustees, administration, and our CSEA brothers and sisters to welcome our students and parents to school to show our support for ALL students and families. We want to assure our families we work hard together to provide safe, welcoming and inclusive schools and classrooms across our district. Our school board is to be commended for being the first in Kern County, on October 18, 2016, that passed a resolution opposing the Immigration and Customs Enforcement threat of actions in the Arvin Union School District. We are very excited about this concerted effort of support for our community.” — Michael Flores-Castaneda, Arvin Teachers Association President