By Julie Van Winkle | California Progress Report
6/22 -- On Monday, June 22, 2009, I will join the California Federation of Teachers to launch a radio ad about the current California state budget crisis. I have been teaching for 5 years, the past two at Liechty Middle School in Pico-Union School District, in Los Angeles. I teach 6th and 7th grade Math and Science. I love my job and I love my students. I am also, one of many teachers across the state that has received a pink slip.
I specifically sought to teach in the Pico-Union School District and had hoped to work with these remarkable kids for years to come. Unfortunately, the governor and Republican legislators had other priorities than protecting public education. They prefer to protect oil companies and corporations, not education.
I have been devastated on several levels. A few days before I got my pink slip, I had been approved for a loan to buy my first home. Because I do not have definite employment for next year, I have had to put off fulfilling that dream.
42 other teachers at my school have received pink slips. Many of us have been teaching the same students for two years, and it's hard for the students - and for the teachers - to know that our school could change so drastically, and that relied-upon teachers may not be returning to their schools.
Being a teacher requires a lot of energy and enthusiasm. It's hard to go to school day after day and act confidant and in-control, when there is so much uncertainty.
I'm upset that this situation has been consuming my thoughts during the final days that I'll spend with my students.
That’s why I agreed to speak out. In the ad, I call upon the governor and Republican legislators to stop destroying our future. Today’s students are our future. Laying off their teachers dooms them to a lesser future than they deserve, and our state requires.
Julie Van Winkle was a math and science teacher at Liechty Middle School in Pico-Union School District in Los Angeles before being pink slipped.