Classrooms could only reopen this fall because this is the one year when California schools got sufficient funding, after decades of under-resourcing due to the impact of Prop 13.
This one-time pandemic relief funding is a victory for the growing power of the new face of California. The recall against Gov. Newsom is a clear backlash against that power, the same anti-democratic impulse that we are seeing across the country.
Please be sure to vote NO on the recall and remind all your friends and family in California to do the same - tomorrow is the last day to vote, so fill out your absentee ballot and mail it back now!
Our next challenge will be to fight to make this level of funding for our schools permanent. There is so much wealth in this state that there is no excuse not to provide full and equitable funding for education.
The disinvestment in education in California over the past 40 years reflects a devaluing of students of color who are the majority in our schools. That's why if the recall wins, we will see a continued dismantling of public education.
Instead, we need to insist that our schools continue to get the full support they need, not just in a pandemic year but every year, and these resources need to be sent equitably to communities where the need is greatest.
Only this can reverse the effects of so many years where California was near the bottom in per-pupil spending, with the suburbs using their extra wealth while cities like Oakland languished.
When you visit our schools, you see the impact of years of underfunding, both in the physical buildings as well as in the tired faces of school staff stretched thin to cover so many needs.
What we are asking our schools to do right now is truly heroic, keeping our students safe, acting as experts not only in education but also public health, enforcing COVID protocols, and performing testing and contact tracing. Students are so happy to be back but the teachers, staff and principals are worried and worked to the breaking point.
I hope you'll stand with me today against the recall, and in next year's election in support of ballot measures to provide full and equitable funding for education in California.