CTA & NEA Presidents To Join LA Educators Declaring That Schools Are Safe Havens For All Students In National Event

Burlingame, CA…In a sign of rising resistance to federal threats to public schools, California educators will join with parents, students, labor and civic leaders and communities on Thursday in calling for every student to have access to a high-quality public education and in standing up against extremist, anti-public school political agendas. This national day of action comes just one day before President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration and will call out his incoming administration’s support for the corporate privatization of public schools and for Betsy DeVos, his anti-public education nominee for U.S. secretary of education.

CTA President Eric Heins and Lily Eskelsen García, president of the 3 million-member National Education Association, will join Los Angeles Unified educators to march in front of their schools with oversized signs in the shape of shields with phrases like “Shield Against Immigrant Detention” and “Shield Against Trump/DeVos/Broad/Walmart.” These actions support the day’s national theme organized by the Alliance to Reclaim our Schools that “Education Justice is Racial Justice.” The push is on to protect schools from privatization and as well as to create safe spaces for immigrants, women and minorities.

“As educators, we know our responsibility is to make our schools safe havens for student learning, and to prevent the corporate privatization of public education,” CTA President Heins said. “We invite community members to join us in reminding the incoming Trump administration that we will always stand up for all students. Our neighborhood schools must remain community centers, not profit centers. Let’s stand together—as teachers, parents, students and as communities—to demand federal support for our schools, not neglect.”

Many local CTA chapters are following the lead of State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson who released a letter encouraging all California public schools to declare themselves “safe havens” for students and to remind families about existing laws that protect students’ records from questions about immigration status. Educators on Thursday are organizing walk-ins, working with local school boards to designate their school district as a “safe haven” or “sanctuary school,” and holding “hands around our school” events. In addition, T-shirt days and “teach-ins” on immigration rights will be held. Events will stress how well-resourced schools help improve student achievement.

The National Day of Action to Reclaim Our Schools demands well-funded public schools that insure a child’s ZIP code or race does not determine success. Past national events have included thousands of teachers, parents and community members in 17 California communities and more than 75 cities nationwide.

Here is a sampling of “Reclaim Our Schools” Events in California.
All events are on Thursday, January 19, unless noted otherwise

San Francisco Bay Area

OAKLAND: Members of the Oakland Education Association (OEA) will emphasize the need for safe schools and that Oakland schools are for everyone. Before school starts, solidarity walk-ins will occur at about 40 school sites. For media coverage, good turnout is expected at Bret Harte and Edna Brewer middle schools, and at Allendale and Sequoia elementary schools. Some sites will invite parent to come into school and discuss student safety issues. Others will feature student performance art based on a district Martin Luther King oratorical contest. Contact: Trish Gorham, OEA President, 510-332-9103.

SAN JOSE: A news conference organized by San Jose area teachers’ unions, school board members from Santa Clara County districts and parent/community organizations is set Wednesday to declare Santa Clara County as a safe school zone for students and all families, including those that are undocumented, Muslim and LGBTQ. The coalition is sharing policies and resources. The news conference is at 4 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 18, in the San Jose Unified School District board room, 855 Lenzen Ave., San Jose, 95125. Joining San Jose Teachers Association members will be educators from East Side Union, Alum Rock Union, Morgan Hill Unified and Santa Clara Unified districts. Contacts: San Jose Teachers Association President Jennifer Thomas at 408-267-0411, or Lucila Ortiz, 209-780-9036

SAN RAMON: Hundreds of educators in the San Ramon Valley Unified School District will be wearing red as a show of solidarity for public education. Contact: SRVEA President Ann Katzburg, 925-413-9258.

RICHMOND: United Teachers of Richmond is organizing several events all week, from community marches to the walk-ins starting at about 8 a.m., or 15 minutes before classes start, on Thursday. The message all week is to “Say No to Billionaire Bullies” and to support public education. Contact: UTR President Demetrio Gonzalez, 510-222-5112.

SAN FRANCISCO: Thursday morning before classes start, United Educators of San Francisco members at two dozen schools will do walk-in solidarity events to take a stand for safe and welcoming schools for all our students and to show the incoming Trump administration that the community will protect students and schools. Attention morning TV news crews: A “Hands Around Our Schools” action will take place from 7:15-7:45 a.m., at Galileo High School, 1150 Francisco St., San Francisco, 94109. Other San Francisco Unified activities include leafleting parents and community members about protecting public schools, as well as circulating a parent and community survey. More info is at www.uesf.org. Contact: Matthew Hardy at 415-513-3179.

FREMONT: At numerous Fremont Unified schools, members of the Fremont Unified District Teachers Association (FUDTA) will be doing walk-ins before the 8 a.m. start of school. “We are angered by the clear indications that Donald Trump and his billionaire nominee for secretary of education, Betsy DeVos, plan to dismantle our public schools by putting them on the market,” FUDTA said in a statement. Fremont teachers called Thursday “a moment to come together, each in our own communities, on a single day, with a single message to Donald Trump and Betsy DeVos.” Contact: Sherea Westra, FUDTA president, 510-299-4161.

Southern California

LOS ANGELES: Joining thousands of members and supporters of United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA), NEA President Lily Eskelsen García and CTA President Eric Heins will join UTLA to #SchoolTrump by marching, chanting and “shielding” public schools from corporate privatization with symbolic shields and arm-in-arm lines formed in front of Los Angeles Unified schools. “With the incoming administration, if we are to believe what Trump says, the very existence of public education is under threat,” says UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl in the full UTLA media advisory. Educators will hold picket lines and rallies with the shields against attacks on schools. Plans also call for a mass “Tweetstorm” by sending personal messages to Trump via Twitter with the hashtag #SchoolTrump. Contact: Anna Bakalis, UTLA communications director, at 213-305-9654.

SAN DIEGO: Before the school day starts Thursday at 16 schools, San Diego Unified educators will show solidarity by doing walk-ins to underscore looming federal threats to public education. Attention morning TV news crews: San Diego Education Association (SDEA) President Lindsay Burningham will be at Hoover High School from 6:45-7:15 a.m. The 16 school sites are Hage, Bethune, Zamorano, Language Academy, Baker, Spreckels, Rowan, Hawthorne, Rosa Parks, Audobon, Florence, Central, Hoover High, Euclid, Miramar Ranch, EB Scripps. Contacts: Carlos Mejia or Jonathan Mello, SDEA staff, at 619-283-4411.

Central Valley

SACRAMENTO: Members of the Sacramento City Teachers Association (SCTA) will be thanking the Sacramento Unified school board for passing a progressive Dec. 8 resolution declaring the district is a safe haven for all students, and will be discussing possible future threats from the Trump administration and DeVos. The public discussion starts at 7 p.m. Thursday at the school board meeting in the Serna Center, 5735 47th Ave., Sacramento, 95824. Contact: John Borsos, CTA staff, at 916-471-9376.