First Class Education

Close the Gap social with Aileen Rizo-Acosta, candidate for Assembly District 23, her three young daughters and myself celebrating her decision to run for office! Aileen is a math teacher and has fought and won her case for Equal Pay for Equal Work for all women!

Since 1992, I have worked as an educator in public schools for Madera, Chawanakee, Golden Valley and Bass Lake Unified Schools as well as Fresno County School Districts. I taught Child Development at the Madera Community College for many years.  I volunteered at Small Fry Cooperative, a landmark in Madera, when my daughter was in preschool, after I had taught Kindergarten for 6 years.  I have been a long-time resident and community member of Madera Ranchos since 1991 and have enjoyed teaching since 1992 from Pre-Kindergarten to College.

As a teacher, I am very concerned about the privatization  of public education towards private charters and for-profit schools which may pay teachers less, have unelected boards which are unaccountable to the local electorate, offer students less and allow for “choice” of their students rather than serving all students quality education, and consistently offend constitutional prohibitions of separation of church and state in funding and curriculum.

The Federal Government, under President Trump’s Budget, was attempting to cut the US Department of Education funding by $ 9.2 Billion and put our schools at greater burden of producing well educated students.  I find the choice and  voucher concepts to be a misdirection of our nation’s’ best interests.  Being 45th in the nation in education, California must work smarter to protect and strengthen education for all students, who represent the future of our state and nation.

We may need to ban charter schools, that try to privatize public money so as to ensure Public Schools for all students which is embedded in our Federal, State and Local Laws, such as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) or Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA).

Some public charters, however,  do adhere to best practices in the public interest with teacher-led schools that welcome all students including those with the highest needs. We must do more in our school districts for our disabled and special needs students as well as for multi-language learners and  gifted students by offering appropriate programs.

I protect the rights of all students including minorities and/or majorities of students including LGBTQ, Muslim and Dreamers, Asian, African-American, Indian, and every child and student to be safe and free to learn and grow in a positive environment to their fullest potential, goals and dreams for lifelong learning.   Education brings people together in community and for our common good face-to-face in the classroom, in our neighborhoods or towns.  Our schools should be the cauldron of where our future citizens first learn, after home, the skills of respectful dialog, the tolerant exchange of ideas and respect for our differences and recognition of our similarities.  We also meet on the computer, in auditoriums, on the sports fields and in our homes and jobs with more learning opportunities.

We can all celebrate academic achievements, real growth and milestones of every child into maturity and graduation, and society benefits tomorrow when we prepare today.   We can honor and respect  the diversity of students and our state’s families from every culture, religion and background to have a quality, first class education that is inclusive and excellent.

I support teachers and their rights to teach with academic freedom, encouragement, training, good pay and professionalism with best practices. Fortunately, CA is doing more in this direction, but we must be vigilant. Our Civil Rights in our schools under Brown v Board of Education are vital to our ensuring all students a Quality Public and Free Education free from racism and harm.  Our state has prepared for a rainy day and has a surplus in our state budget.

Ironically, it is in direct proportion to the amount of cuts wrought onto California by the Federal Budget cuts.   The GOP Tax plan which  passed makes the already wealthy even richer and Corporations deregulated to pollute, out-source, weaken and send jobs out of the country and to impose a wall street corporate agenda in our government which is anti-labor and the middle class and it should be countered at our state and local  level with respect to the people and our common good, of which I aim to be your champion. 

P.S.—–I think we need to be aware that the oil industry helped us restore education (from the cuts during the 2009 recession) with not fighting against CA Proposition 30, and possibly Proposition 55 which are  progressive taxes only for public education, assessed on people who make more than $250,000 per year, so there were some trade offs which brought us natural gas and fracking,  as a least polluting fossil fuel.  I am not a big fan of fracking. 

Our current governor, thinks that we need instate extraction, so as third world countries are not the only polluting places, while we are busy in California driving hybrids.   However,  I will work to keep education strong and to wean us from fossil fuels, as we really only have 60-90 years left of the crude stuff on our planet (and the easy oil is gone-what’s left is in the rain forests or warming oceans).   Most of that oil will need to stay in the ground , lest we heat our warming planet to unbearable temperatures and even more extremes of weather, which we may be headed towards regardless due to greed, denial and lack of incentives, innovations, and a Federal Climate Change law , so we should act more quickly and intelligently in California.  

We must work together and have energy that is affordable and here for the long-haul with no wars necessary—- and my main solution is to move our state to renewables and clean technologies as quickly and as steadily as we can do so.  I am willing to talk with oil companies to help in this process, but refuse to be controlled, lobbied with gifts, trips, food or wine, and will never accept donations from oil companies or tobacco lobbyists. 

Candidate for Governor,  Gavin Newsom,  has an excellent education plan.  He will work to help make Education in our state even better!

Tony Thurmond, Candidate for State Education Superintendent

Free College for California’s Community College and State Colleges is my goal too, just like Bernie!

I support all Children, Students, Families, Educators, School Staff and in all of our Public Schools from Pre-K to College and apprenticeship training programs for good and union jobs in District 5 and statewide with a top priority to quality, investment, equity, and equality to lead the way to California’s Strong Economy!

Martin Luther King, Jr. said. “The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.”  Remember we are all equal and have a right to an education.