I don’t think about school that much anymore. I don’t have kids and I haven’t been in school for years. But a couple recent stories got me thinking about the state of our educational system in the East Bay and beyond.
Last week, Cal State East Bay fired a Quaker teacher because she changed the text of a loyalty oath that California public employees are required to sign:
A veteran public school math teacher who specializes in helping struggling students, Kearney-Brown, 50, had signed the oath before – but had modified it each time….
Each time, when asked to “swear (or affirm)” that she would “support and defend” the U.S. and state Constitutions “against all enemies, foreign and domestic,” Kearney-Brown inserted revisions: She wrote “nonviolently” in front of the word “support,” crossed out “swear,” and circled “affirm.” All were to conform with her Quaker beliefs, she said.
Though none of the previous schools districts she had worked for took action on these changes, Cal State East Bay fired her. As Robert in Monterey opined at Calitics, “Unless we believe that Quakers are somehow America’s biggest threat, this should be seen as a totally ridiculous and anachronistic injustice.”
I couldn’t agree more.
Normally, this might be seen as an injustice, but in the educational crisis we’re facing, it also seems pretty idiotic. We have a shortage of teachers – why let a good one go for something like this?
Though there didn’t seem to be such an uproar over her firing, students locally are taking notice of the Governor’s and republican legislature’s plans to gut education funding. On Wednesday, hundreds of students in Alameda walked out of their classes to protest the funding cuts that their district is facing.
I’m inspired by local students joining together in the face of funding cuts, but at the same time I’m angered that they feel the need to. It’s time for our elected officials to come together and prioritize education (not to mention health care and other important services), instead of prioritizing maintaining tax cuts and tax loopholes.