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A rally for our children

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SOMETIMES IT IS NECESSARY to go out of your comfort zone when it comes to advocating for what you believe in. Five years ago I, along with many other Ventura parents who had never been politically active before, formed a group called Save Our Schools to deal with impending education budget cuts. We raised money and later held a rally at the Ventura County Government Center that drew nearly 1,000 people.

Here we are five years later in the same leaky boat. I'm a true believer that every child deserves a chance to succeed and that it is our responsibility as a great and moral country to adequately fund public education. Our governor's current proposed cut of $4.8 billion to our schools fails to do that.

Our schools do miraculous things with the resources they have, and yet I am tired of hearing teachers tell me they spend thousands of their own dollars to buy supplies for their classrooms, that they can't adequately reach all children with these often huge class sizes and that there is not enough funding for P.E., libraries, counseling, technology, music and art. I am sick of watching our kids go door to door hawking cookie dough just to raise money for a field trip.

We are 46th in the nation in per pupil funding. This is all despite the fact that California has a relatively high capacity to fund its schools, as measured by per capita personal income. Our governor recently commissioned a group of experts to propose dramatic education reform. This committee concluded we need to spend another $10.5 billion in this state just to get the job done right. Yet our governor decided to take away $4 billion instead.

SO WE ARE GOING to rally again. Please join us on Friday, April 18 at the Buena High School Quad at 4 p.m. We're going to have a spirited event with many speakers including Assemblyman Pedro Nava, State Senate candidate Hannah-Beth Jackson, Congressional candidate Jill Martinez, Ventura County Superintendent of Schools Chuck Weis, Ventura Superintendent Trudy Arriaga, Ventura Board of Education President John Walker, Ventura Board of Education Vice President Mary Haffner, Ventura County Board of Education Trustee ML Peterson, VUEA President Stephen Blum, and California Teachers Association Secretary Dan Vaughn. We will announce more important speakers and entertainment as the event draws closer. Please check back here for updates.

I am calling on everyone who cares about the future of our children to attend this rally and show their support. We need to make our voices heard all the way up to Sacramento. It's that important.

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This space is devoted to thoughtful and lively discussion about the events, people and politics which shape Ventura and our state. If you would like to suggest blog topics, email me.

About the author

Marie Lakin, a long-time resident of Ventura, is a community activist and writer/editor.
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