March 4 Day of Action for Education in Watsonville

On March 4, 2010 the Pajaro Valley Federation of Teachers, along with Viernes Cultural, parents, students, and community partners, held a rally in the Watsonville plaza and a symposium to support public education and bring the community together to call for “No more cuts to education!”

The rally began with music by La Sangre. High School students, parents, teachers and union members spoke at the rally. A symposium was held in the Watsonville Cabrillo College Forum and featured John Silver, a filmmaker and video director for the New Teacher Project.

The events began in the Main Plaza of Watsonville at 3pm with a rally and music by La Sangre. Paintings were on display by Josefina Estrada, along with art activities for children courtesy of Mariposa’s Art.

The symposium was held in the Watsonville Cabrillo College Forum and featured John Silver, a filmmaker and video director for the New Teacher Project. John presented on the importance of Watsonville in Labor History.

PVUSD School Trustee veteran Sandra Nichols discussed the power and responsibilities of local school boards in the budget crisis and beyond.

Jenn Laskin of the Pajaro Valley Federation of Teachers spoke about the most effective solution to the budget crisis, to change the 2/3 majority required for California to pass a budget. This is on a ballot proposition currently gathering signatures.

Teacher Bob Gomez performed original folk songs and Armando Gary Vasquez-Green, a first grader at Alianza Charter School, read his winning essay from the CABE (California Association for Bilingual Education) essay contest.

The March 4th Day of Action of Education began as statewide initiative, but eventually expanded into a national and international phenomenon.

In Watsonville, the purpose of the day was to broaden the impact of March 4th beyond educational institutions to other public and private sector workplaces, and to build public awareness of the damage being wreaked by state budget cuts on the quality of life for all Californians.

The Day of Action emphasized three themes:
– To restore the promise of public education;
– To rebuild a government and economy that works for all the people; and
– To enact fair taxes to fund California’s future.

On Friday, March 5th, a “March for California’s Future” will kickoff and move from Bakersfield to Sacramento over the course of 48 days, ending with a large rally in the Capitol.

Specific issues for the march to Sacramento include:

– No More Fee Hikes! No Program, Faculty or Staff Cuts in Higher Education!
– Call For a Massive Increase in Federal Funding for Public Higher Education!
– Defend Public Education from K thru 12!
– Pass the DREAM Act Now! Create Campus-Based DREAM Scholarships to Provide Financial Aid for Undocumented Students!
– Restore Affirmative Action Now! No More Separate and Unequal!
– No More Second-Class Treatment of Latina/o Students, Students With and Without Papers!
– Build the New Civil Rights and Student Movement!

* This text was taken from the event announcement, and slightly altered.

Indybay coverage of the March 4th Day of Action for Education:

Students and Education Workers Take a Stand on March 4th
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2010/02/27/18639000.php

Crossposted at Indybay.org.

Author: Bradley Allen

Bradley Allen is a reporter and photographer in the Monterey Bay Area, and a collective member of the San Francisco Bay Area Independent Media Center (Indybay). Follow him on social media: @BradleySA.