My colleague and friend Jon Miquelon sent out this email at work today:
While I understand and appreciate the sentiment that wearing pink represents, now is also a time for action. 1/3 of U-46 employees are receiving their pink slips today, for those who have retained their jobs, you are facing dire working conditions next year, which, in turn affects our students negatively. Everybody loses today, and wearing pink is not going to reverse this situation.
Email and call your senators, representatives, and Governor Quinn. Do it every day if you can. The link below will get you their phone number, but not their email address. To contact any of these people via email, go to their home page (usually searching their name in google will get you there). I urge you to ask them why education is losing 16.1% of it's budget, while the rest of the Quinn's programs are losing 0.039% of their budget. Some of Quinn's programs are getting a raise. The entire situation is absurd. Luckily, the current budget is proposed, it is not final, and it can/must be re-written.
It may be that I am an idealist, but this feels like a situation that we, as constituents, should be able to change. Even if it doesn't work, I can't sit idly by, while elected officials play politics with my livelihood, our education system, and the futures of our students. Please let me know if you have any questions.
Click here, then click on "Legislator Lookup" under "Additional Resources" to find your state representation
Click here to see Quinn's proposed budget, turn to Adobe Acrobat pg. 52 (chapter 2 - 24 in regular text) to see comparison between education and the rest of state funding. The important parts are highlighted in blue.
Thank you Jon, and well stated. While this specifically highlights the need for the people of Illinois to get politically active, I suggest everyone start participating in politics. Some phone numbers for people nation wide. (You'll have to look up your own State rep's numbers). Again, its not a left or right issue--the need for quality public education is an issue that we all share. I have listened to progressive radio for some time, but have still never picked up the phone. It is time. Maybe I've never been angry enough, or maybe I've just been lazy, but clearly nothing changes from doing nothing, so its time to pick up the phone. I didn't live in a period of widespread polical activism such as seen during the civil rights movement and Vietnam war, but I wonder how bad does it have to get? We seem to be in an endless war overseas, in a system that bails out banks but not states, and Fox's Glee hasn't been on since NOVEMBER!
I imagine if we take people's HDTVs we will soon find them in the streets.