California teachers and other education supporters are swarming the Capitol this week. They’re calling for a budget without any further cuts to schools. There’s been talk of “Wisconsin-style” sit-ins – but so far, the events are far smaller in scale.
There are two distinct parts of this weeklong advocacy effort. The formal part is organized by the California Teachers Association. It features news conferences and lawmaker meetings with hundreds of union members like Oakland’s Janan Apaydin, who says, “we’re very concerned with all the cuts to education, and we cannot see how we can tolerate any more cuts.”
Then, there’s the not-so-formal part.
A group of Santa Cruz students sat down to read at the Capitol Rotunda. California Highway Patrol officers asked them to leave after a couple of chants, warning them, “if you refuse to leave, you may be subject to arrest.”
If there’s a common thread among the disparate groups, it’s that Republican state lawmakers should sign off on Governor Jerry Brown’s proposed tax extensions so schools don’t take any more cuts – to which Assembly GOP Leader Connie Conway responds: “The labor union can twist and turn it any way they want. But we have always been supportive of teachers, and that’s where we continue to be.”
Conway says Democrats can – and should – balance the budget without extending any taxes … and without cutting education.