DOWNEY - The sight of teachers waving placards and slogans, or simply congregating, on school district campuses, and animated scores more seen on TV in the early morning of March 4, a Thursday, proved disconcerting to not a few concerned parents already worried about middle school sports programs being dropped or irritated at the prospect of seeing their children sharing their classes with God-knows-how-many-other kids in an increased class size program aimed of course at coping with frighteningly real district budget cuts, directly due in turn to state-slashed education budgets.After all the excitement had died down, however, and the emotional weight of the moment had been lifted, when it was explained that the Downey teachers were not protesting against the district itself but were merely participating in a statewide 'day of action' staged by the California Teachers Association, other education organizations, higher education groups and labor unions in protest against further budget cuts to public education and other essential services, nerves calmed and a level of reason was restored. According to Downey Education Association president Jeff Orlinksy, the Downey teachers' half-an-hour before school district-wide show of support was part of an 'informational flyer distribution' program called "Start the Day for Students." In a prepared statement, he said the March 4 day of action was to "heighten the awareness of the havoc $17 billion in cuts over two years is wreaking on students and schools. 'Start the Day for Students' was about quality public schools building strong communities, and we joined together to say our students deserve better." Orlinsky emphasized: "Investing in public education is the best investment we can make in [our students'] future." In a related development Tuesday at the Rotary Club luncheon meeting, Orlinsky presided over an art contest among George Redfox's art/photography students at Warren High, with cash prizes going to the first-to-third prize winners. Looking directly at fellow Rotarian Wendy Doty, who is also DUSD superintendent, Orlinsky said: "Thanks to the district, we still have our arts program."
********** Published: March 19, 2010 - Volume 8 - Issue 48