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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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Staff Blog

Filtering by Tag: community college

The Power of Prayer (and Prop. 13)

Brianne O'Sullivan

I attended a Catholic private school from first to third grade. We watched The West Side Story every year in our music class, attended mass as a school once week, and sported practical uniforms every day (except for the much anticipated, rare casual Friday). I remember loving it. While the facilities were small and our recess space was just a large swath asphalt, classroom sizes were manageable and there was an emphasis on community amongst students, families, and facility members.

In the fourth grade, I moved and was able to attend highly ranked public schools in an affluent school district. My graduating high school class was full of overachievers and attending a four-year university right after graduating was a bit of a norm. Seeing as I had been a bit of an academic slacker during my high school career, I decided to pursue a fresh start at a community college that was out of my locality.

I quickly realized that I had an advantage over many of my fellow community college classmates. My affluent school district provided me with the basic educational foundation and more to be successful at community college. I was able to start college-level courses almost right away and found the material workable. The primary and secondary schools that many of my community college peers had attended did not prepare them well enough to easily pursue higher education. A startling number of college students have to take remedial classes and studies have shown that this can have a detrimental impact on their path to higher education. It dawned on me that a good part of why I was able to perform so well in community college was because of my zipcode and the great school district it provided me.  

According to a report done by the The Little Hoover Commission, community college administrators explained that throughout California “many recent high school graduates are entering college assuming they are ready for college-level work only to learn that they are actually unprepared because the minimum high school graduation requirements do not align with the skills students need to be college ready”*. California needs to prioritize public education to empower all of its children regardless of location, income, ethnicity, etc. One way to work towards this goal is to reform Prop. 13 and bring that increased revenue (roughly $9 billion a year) to all of the state’s K-14 schools. Public schools must become a pillar of social mobility and equality throughout the Golden state.


Why I Believe in Public Education

Sarah Barsky

            I have a passion for public education because it has done a lot for me, my family, and my community. I have been in the public-school system since second grade and am about to graduate from a public university. My grandmother was a grade school teacher for nearly thirty years and my mother and uncle both graduated with their master’s degrees from public universities. My family owes a lot to public education and I’m grateful every day that I was fortunate to receive a decent education.

Before transferring to a university I attended a community college, as it was more financially viable for my family. There I worked in the student government and got to know students from all walks of life. It was there that I met people, many being the first in their family to attend college, who were working so hard to earn their degrees while also having to support a family. I met many people who were trying to better their lives but sometimes unable to continue due to cost.

            While I respect the public-school system, it is not without its faults. Due to budget cuts and tuition hikes from lack of funding, our public schools are suffering. My high school classes were overcrowded and my books were falling apart at the seams. In community college, all of my classes were impacted and required expensive books. The educational system has suffered cut after cut in funding and over time these problems have compounded. While students are paying more in tuition to cover these cuts the quality of that education has still gone down because there just isn’t a reasonable amount of state funding.

            A large part of the funding problem comes from restrictions on property tax reassessment. Now, due to Prop. 13, most of the funding for local programs such as schools are frozen in an outdated tax code. The burden to provide for the community through taxes relies mostly on homeowners rather than fairly distributed amongst all types of property ownership. It is unfair to place a burden on only part of the community when it affects all of the community.

            The reason I chose to intern at Evolve was to help reform Prop. 13 so that the people I met, and the countless others like them, can have the same opportunities to get an education without having to worry about the cost. In such uncertain times when Trump is threatening to further cut our federal budget and DeVos threatens the integrity of the education system, we need an ace up our sleeve. Now is the time for large corporations to start paying their fair share in property taxes. I intern at Evolve because I think that education shouldn’t be old books and crowded classrooms. I chose to get involved because I think that public education is a worthy cause to champion. I chose to take action because investing in education is an investment that will pay the community back threefold.

Sarah Barsky is a senior at the University of California-Berkeley and a campaign intern at Evolve.