On Thursday afternoon, March 4, members of the Oceanside Teachers Association joined a statewide protest over school funding cuts. The over 400 protesters gathered in front of the Oceanside City Hall on Coast Highway. Most were dressed in black, and the crowd included teachers, school-board members, school employees, parents, and students.
From 4:00 to 5:30 p.m., protesters carried signs, listened to speeches, and got excited when passing cars would give a honk of approval. Association president Terry Hart, a speech pathologist for the district, led the chants and introduced the other speakers.
The protesters got worked up when El Camino High School 12th grader and ASB president Felix Perez got up to speak. He ignited the crowd with his Baptist-preacher style. He told the audience, “As Pink Floyd says, Sacramento tells us ‘we don’t need no education.’” He finished his four-minute talk with, “No, I refuse Sacramento. I refuse Mr. Schwarzenegger, I will not be ‘another brick in the wall.’”
After the speeches, Hart was asked how he could justify more school spending when every state agency is being asked to cut back.
“The problem is not fixing education,” responded Hart, “it is fixing education funding.”
Although California is 46th in education spending, California teachers are the second highest paid in the country, with a statewide average of under $67,000 per year. Proposition 98, approved in 1988, requires a percentage of the state’s budget be spent on education.
For video of the protest, click here.