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Evolve is working to reform Proposition 13 so that commercial property pays its fair share, and funding is restored to schools and public services.

           

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Our Stories

Our Stories

Parshan Khosravi

Parshan Khosravi is a graduate student at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Why is education important to you?

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Education is the tool that has allowed me to have a voice in a world that otherwise would not care about my experiences and being.

How has California's lack of education funding negatively impacted you?

Education is the key to the future, and California's lack of funding in our education further shows the lack of insight that our officials have about what our future needs.

How has the increasing cost of college impacted you?

I live in a house with 6 other people, sharing my room with two others. I work two different jobs and barely have food on my table sometimes. I have over $40,000 in loans. So yeah, with every dollar of increase in costs of education, I do have to ask myself the question of whether I could continue or not.


Wendy Morrison

Wendy Morrison is a special education teacher in early childhood education.

Why is education important to you?

I truly believe the quote that education is the great equalizer. I have spent a good deal of volunteer time working with teens from more and impoverished neighborhoods in Oakland. I see that one of the greatest disadvantages working against them is inadequate early education (preschool through elementary). It is really hard to get far in education when you don't even have a stable foundation. Gangs and crime only seem like a great option when you can't imagine a better way. Education broadens minds enough to imagine better ways of living.

As a teacher I work in a pretty unique role. I am a home visiting teacher working with children birth to age three identified with a developmental delay that is likely to impact their educational future. I work directly with the children, and more importantly educate parents and caregivers on the importance of early learning experiences and ways to create them with in every day routines. Our funding is federally mandated largely because of studies showing the cost savings of providing an early intervention model. Kids coming through programs like ours are better prepared academically. That means something different for every child (some of the children I work with have disabling conditions that will require some form of special education), but for every child is does mean a better outcome. I am proud to be part of California's early start program and happy that one exists, but often frustrated when I hear of comparisons to what is happening in other states with better funding. As one of the richest states we should be really ashamed at the state of our educational system.

How has California's lack of education funding negatively impacted you?

My salary is not terrible in comparison to some teachers in other districts and other parts of the educational system. That said, it could be much better. Teachers are woefully underpaid in California. When people just look at actual dollars and compare salaries, we are usually in the top of salary rankings, but when you factor in cost of living we always seem to fall below the bottom half in the spending power of our salaries rankings.

Being underpaid isn't the worst part about teaching in California. Especially for teachers who share a passion for teaching. The hardest part is the lack of resources. Trying to pull together educational resources and opportunities in a falling down school, with a lack of administrative support and budget is exhausting.

How has the increasing cost of college impacted you?

I have two college-aged kids and the cost of their schooling is crippling. My husband and I decided that we didn't want our children to leave college with loan debts totaling any more than 1/2 of what their proposed starting annual salary might be. We knew they would need loans despite the savings accounts we created for them, but we didn't want their loans to be so insurmountable that they negated any financial advance of being college educated. This means we are barely getting by, but it is worth it. It is just sad that this is the American way.

My family is British and we have extended family all over the globe. When I compare the cost of college for my kids with my relatives with children in college in Norway, England or New Zealand it is appalling! We really are doing something wrong here. I think anyone would agree that an educated workforce in important for any countries' economy, and yet we haven't created a system that demonstrates this as a priority.

What made you want to pursue a career in education? How have budget cuts impacted your work?

I have always been a "teacher", from a young age I enjoyed "teaching" kids younger than myself. My first career was as a nurse (following in my mother's footsteps). Even as a nurse, I was a nurse educator. I think being a teacher is tapping into all of the things I am best at. That isn't to say about don't struggle, just that I enjoy any struggles.

For our program the financial burden isn't in true "cuts". We just haven't had many increases in state and federal funding for so long that our program operates "in the red". The impact of the lack of funding is evident in every programmatic decision right down to how much printer ink I am allotted.


Anton Krukowski

Anton Krukowski is a teacher at Lick-Wilmerding High School.

Why is education important to you?

I think much of education is about enhancing our sense of empathy. Having a deeper sense of ourselves, of others, and of the world around us allows us to live life more fully.

How has California's lack of education funding negatively impacted you?

I teach at an independent school, so as a teacher I have been protected from the insufficient funding of our public schools. I feel that my school is an example of what is possible with an appropriate level of funding per student - what every child should be able to experience. We have a healthy high school teaching load - with 16 - 20 students in most classes, and four classes per teacher. Students are able to get individual attention, get a wide range of options for elective courses, and our classrooms have all of the materials we might need. The tragedy is that not every student in California - or every teacher in California - gets to experience school in this way. For many years I have felt that one of the most important questions we should ask presidential candidates is what do they think is an appropriate level of funding per student to fully reach each and every student. We don't need to blindly throw money at education. We just need a student/teacher ratio across the country that allows every student to be known and loved, and to support and appreciate teachers like the professionals that we all are.


Inga Davis

Inga Davis is a teacher at San Carlos Charter Learning Center.

Why is education important to you?

Education provides the most important opportunity for students to learn to interact with the world outside of their family. It exposes them to a wide variety of people, adults, responsibilities and choices. It provides a safe place to learn to fail and recover and, most importantly, it allows young people to begin to see themselves as individuals and begin to gather passions, interests and ideas that will sustain them throughout life.

How has California's lack of education funding negatively impacted you?

I was in California's public schools from 1971 - 1984, with one year in a private school in the Netherlands, in 1978-9. I noticed a huge gap in educational opportunities when I returned to California in 1979. In particular my high school was bare bones. We didn't have a full time school librarian or school nurse and besides sports, there were few other extra curricular opportunities. My teachers were often talking about their lack of adequate compensation. I believe that not only myself, but many of my friends, lost opportunities to explore, art, music, and other important elements of education. There was no college counseling and I felt sympathy for all of the caring adults trying to take care of me and my friends with so few resources.

Now, as a public school educator I feel the lack of adequate resources even more acutely. My school is in a relatively wealthy neighborhood with a strong parent educational fund, but even with this financial support we struggle to make ends meet. To provide high quality education a school's greatest investment is in its teachers. Teachers need to be treated like professionals and many educators are willing to work long hours to find new ways to support their students. However, many talented young people are leaving the profession, since their salary does not even match the estimated low income minimum in the Bay Area of $105,000. Educators tend to be people who love community and families and yet most cannot afford to live in the communities where they teach or to even own a home and have children of their own. This impacts who is interested in teaching, turnover in schools, and the willingness of educators to continue to pour themselves into their work.

Our school is only able to offer music and art classes with volunteer support. Children thrive in environments that have multiple ways of learning and expression and California's unrealistic budgeting is harming another generation of young people. I have friends who teach in more impoverished communities and the situation is worse. We are failing this generation and in particular sustaining the long held tradition of marginalizing poorer communities with fewer opportunities to thrive.

How has the increasing cost of college impacted you?

My children feel worried about how much their education is costing us as a family and a wary of student debt. This is limiting where they are choosing to go to school.

What made you want to pursue a career in education? How have budget cuts impacted your work?

I love working with communities in a dynamic and thriving environment. Teaching gives me an opportunity to face new challenges every day and to need to always be learning - about my content, my students, and the world around me to make my instruction relevant. My colleagues are intelligent, passionate people who inspire me and my students to be our best. Hearing their constant worries about budgeting and how the struggle to make ends meet is disheartening.