Thousands gather to advocate for education funding

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Education leaders from across the state gathered yesterday on the capitol steps to advocate for more reliable education funding. Thousands of students, parents and teachers hooted and hollered, holding homemade signs carrying messages like “I love school!” and “Our kids are worth it!”
Many wore red, symbolizing solidarity with workers who are protesting in Wisconsin.

Advocates raised blue umbrellas in support of a Rainy Day Fund and ‘kicker’ reform as a path to stable funding for K-12 education.

Teachers gave testimony:

“I am here because I am frustrated by not one, not two, not three, but four consecutive years of layoffs and cutbacks,” said Doug Bridge, a fifth-grade teacher from North Clackamas School District.

Students did too:

“In my district we are looking at cutting 10 days,” said Tessa Keuhler of Oregon City High School. “Ten less days in kindergarten through 12th grade is 130 days lost, 130 days at a disadvantage. That would be almost one full school year less education than the rest of the nation.”

“I’m here to support our schools,” said Bridget Salada, a fourth grader at Portland’s Laurelhurst K-8, “so kids can be educated.”

Related news:

“Thousands of students, teachers and other public employees descended on the state capitol in Salem Monday. The traditional Presidents’ Day rally in support of public education included many calls of support for public employees in Wisconsin. The main message at the rally organized by the group Stand for Children was more or less the same as it is every session. Advocates want more funding for schools.”
Statesman Journal
“A crowd of more than 2,000 people gathered at the Capitol steps this afternoon to rally for better education funding in Oregon. ‘I am here because I am frustrated by not one, not two, not three, but four consecutive years of layoffs and cutbacks,’ said Doug Bridge, a fifth grade school teacher from North Clackamas School District. The Stand for Children Rally pressed Oregon legislators to take actions to stabilize school funding, such as beefing up the state’s Rainy Day Fund.”
“Parents and students from districts across Oregon spoke of the impact budget cuts have had on local schools. Several speakers discussed the impact of school closures and growing class sizes – things Eugene 4J School District parents said they’re all too familiar with. ‘The 80 teachers they’re talking about laying off is going to affect our children’s standing here because they’re going to be in classrooms with the highest numbers we’ve seen in 4J,’ said Angela Ferry, a parent. ‘This is a crisis, so it’s time to do something about it.'”
“Oregon House Democrats told students, parents and teachers gathered for a rally Monday at the state Capitol that they support a higher level of K-12 funding than included in the current governor’s budget. That number – $5.56 billion – is reduced from both the 09-11 and 07-09 funding levels for schools. ‘The funding level currently proposed would lead to shortened school years and increased class sizes in many districts around Oregon,’ Hunt said. ‘That’s not acceptable to us or to Oregon families.'”
“Oregon students, teachers and parents gathered on the state Capitol steps Monday and told lawmakers they want better funding for public education. Lincoln High School students Lizzy Matteri and Colleen Smyth say their school needs better facilities and their teachers need more resources.  ‘I think it’s really important that legislators see kids and it’s an opportunity for us to see them, too,’ said 17-year-old Smyth. ‘We’ll be the ones voting for them in the next election.'”
Statesman Journal
“Every day across Oregon, students are learning. They’re learning to identify colors in a preschool in Ontario. They’re learning long division in an elementary school in Hillsboro. They’re learning HTML code in a community college class in Portland. They’re learning how to write a business plan at a university in Eugene. What they also are learning is that Oregon has a fractured system of investing in public education. For Oregon students to be successful and for the future of our economy, this has to change.”


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