The November 2012 Save California Public Schools Toolkit
Step 1: Get informed.
We’re on the verge of either saving our public schools from an annual cycle of disinvestment caused by budget cuts ($20 billion in the past 5 years) — or setting off harmful triggers if the November 2012 ballot initiatives to fund K-12 (or K-14) don’t pass. Proposition 30 and Proposition 38 are the two main solutions we can choose to revitalize our chronically underfunded schools, but what do each do and what happens if neither pass or if both pass? (Read the actual ballot initiatives here, as generated by California’s Attorney General and provided to the Secretary of State; here you’ll also find very detailed analysis of Prop 30 and Prop 38 performed by a non-profit, non-partisan group whose mission it is to analyze and translate state budget issues into language so everyday people can understand them.)
No wonder voters are confused. (See graph above with recent poll results.)
The short answer to the Prop 30/38 conundrum: whichever one gets the most votes above the minimum threshold for winning will be enacted; however if Proposition 30 doesn’t pass, then there’ll be an additional $6 billion in trigger cuts. (Some are advising that people should vote for both Prop 30/Prop 38. There’s no harm done in that. We go one step further — don’t leave any money on the table. Read on.)
Mid-year, 2012-2013 $6 billion trigger cuts on top of $20 billion in cuts over the past five years? We don’t cut our way to excellence. I know what scenario I’d rather see — how about making the Golden State tops again in public education?
When the space shuttle Endeavour buzzed the skies over our communities, didn’t you feel excitement and pride at what our state’s rocket scientists can accomplish?
Likewise, didn’t you feel proud at seeing the Mars Curiosity rover land earlier this summer? Or how about pride at our Olympic athletes, some of whom got their starts competing in public school leagues as children? The sky’s the limit for our state’s kids, if only we act to secure this for them.
Step 2: Pledge to vote for California schools.
Here are eight key things you can do to help voters in your community see the wisdom in investing in education, up and down the ticket:
Below is K12NN’s grid on all the November 2012 propositions that will affect K-14 in California, along with recommendations:
1Los Angeles Times: California’s truly loopy tax loophole
2 Daily Cal: Gridlock Impasse Killed Middle Class Scholarship Act
3 San Diego Free Press: Why You Should Vote on the Most Boring Proposition on the 2012 Ballot
Prop 39 Endorsements:
- Pledge to vote for Propositions 30, 38, and 39. We need either 30 or 38 to pass to stop trigger cuts and start building a bridge out of the hole we’re in. (If 38 passes, trigger cuts will still occur, but at least there will be some sort of revenue to support K-12.) But we also need 39 to pass to close corporate tax loopholes and fund our schools and state again, because the burden of funding California’s public schools should fall on both businesses and individuals. Approximately 60% of Prop 39 would go to creating clean energy jobs, and 40% would go to the general fund and fulfilling Prop 98 minimum guarantees.
Step 3: Spread the word on how to take action.
- Join K12NN’s #Yes303839 effort on Twitter. (click to tweet)
- Register everyone to vote in your community using secure and easy online tools from the California Secretary of State. The process matches DMV information and signatures with your online voter registration information and authorizes your DMV signature on the voter reg form. The deadline to be eligible to vote in the November 6, 2012 elections is October 22, 2012.
- Hot tip: register first-time voters at area high schools. The campaign My Vote, Our Future has been registering well over 3,000 eligible high schoolers since March of 2012, they’ve given out at least as many voter registration forms at area community events, and they’ve trained young adult peer counselors to urge 18-25 year olds to get informed, register, then vote. The website describes how they do it. The pain of K-12 and community college/higher ed budget cuts is fresh in the minds of this demographic. Cure what ails you at the polls and get the right people into the state legislature. Also? California Ed Code absolutely provides for the non-partisan on-campus activity of voter registration on the campus and even in the classroom as part of civic education. If you need proof, use this handy flyer put out by scholars of civic engagement at the University of California Center for Collaborative Research for an Equitable California (click to download pdf).
- Hold a community forum with the school district’s business office head, the Superintendent, and any PTA or other community group members to share information on the two November propositions that are intended to fund K-12 education: Prop 30 and Prop 38. Community college board members are also very knowledgeable — invite one to be on the panel. Register voters at the event. Pass a clipboard with a sheet of paper to gather information from people who want updates. Invite those high schoolers you just registered.
- If you can’t pull together a forum, seek out online streamed events on the California Channel (our online “public access” state C-Span) where lawmakers are conducting fact-finding panels on Propositions 30 & 38 (9/25/12), or shows that explore the effects of Prop 39 state of public education.
- Use K12NN’s 2012 California Primary Education Voter’s Election Guide to track how state legislators voted on 3 key education laws. Did they take the opportunity to fund two key education programs? Did they support California’s strong new anti-bullying law (which thankfully, our Governor signed)? And keep an eye out for the updated November 2012 California Education Voter’s Election Guide to be released in October.
- Hold presidential debate “watch parties” and discuss; attend school board election forums and discuss. Here’s the schedule of presidential debates:
October 3, 2012, 9-10:30 pm ET (presidential): domestic policy, including education
October 11, 2012, 9-10:30 pm ET (vice presidential): domestic and foreign policy
October 16, 2012, 9-10:30 pm ET (presidential): foreign & domestic policy
October 22, 2012, 9-10:30 pm ET (presidential): foreign policy
Step 4: Bring friends, vote.
- Vote like California’s future depends on it on November 6, 2012. Because it does.