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Fremont says “no, no, no” to school cuts

More than 300 Fremont teachers and other school employees, parents and students gathered at the intersection of Mowry Ave./Fremont Blvd. after school Thursday as part of a statewide Day of Action against education cuts. It was the typical rally, with cars honking and people waving signs and chanting.

For me, the most memorable part was listening to the head of the teachers union, Brannin Dorsey, lead the crowd in a song about budget cuts, written by Washington High teacher Matt Ballin and set to the tune of Amy Winehouse’s “Rehab.” Here’s a 10-second footage of the crowd singing (sorry for the poor quality) with some of the lyrics below (in blue):

Try to make me take a pay cut but, I say No, No, No!

Yes it’s been tough, and we’ve had enough, I say No, No, No!

I put in my time,

And I won’t take one less dime!

Try to make us take a pay cut but, we say No, No, No!

 

Try to make me raise my class size, but I say No, No, No!

Yes it’s too much, and we’ve had enough,  I say No, No, No!

Good teaching can’t be done,

At 35 to One.

Try to make me raise my class size, but I say No, No, No!

 

(Verse)

Services for children always bleed,

When those in power can’t see their own greed,

If you think there’s no money to be found,

Then I’m afraid you haven’t looked around,

There is value in what we do,

We deserve a bonus too.

 

Tryin to reduce our hours, but I say No, No, No!

We work more than you know, so just let it go, I say No, No, No!

You may want us to work less,

But we’re left with the mess.

Tryin to reduce our hours, but we say No, No, No!

 

Try to take away my prep time, but I say No, No, No!

It’s just not fair, we need time to prepare, I say No, No, No!

You may not understand,

It takes time to build a lesson plan,

Try to take away my prep time, but we say No, No, No!

 

(Verse) 

We all know we that we can’t save a cent,

If we don’t make a healthy investment,

In our kids and their future welfare,

I bet  they already think we don’t care,

But it doesn’t have to be,

Just sing along with me.

 

Try to cut the Arts and Phys Ed, but I say No, No, No!

Try to cut Libraries and Music, but I say No, No, No!

Kids will not succeed,

If they don’t get what they need,

Try to cut the heart of the school out, but we say No, No, No!

 

Try to make us cut more Teachers, but I say No, No, No!

They’ve just come on board, and then shown the door , I say No, No, No!

A better future can’t be reached,

If there’s nobody left to Teach!!!

Try to make us cut more Teachers, but I say No, No, No!

 

As for school board members, I heard Lara York was at the rally but didn’t see her. I did bump into Lily Mei, as well as Ivy Wu, who took the opportunity to also walk her dog. (She kept crossing the streets to keep her four-legged friend moving.)

Here are random quotes from today:

– “I hope they don’t cut PE and science. … You can learn about different things in the world.” — Valeria Leon, first-grader at Brier Elementary (about why science is her favorite subject)

– “I want to meet our reading goals. I was going to use the library, but I can’t go.” — Gianna Gemeiner, third-grader at Azevada Elementary (regarding the library being open only two days/week instead of five days like last year)

– “They’re cutting out science when Silicon Valley is right here. … (My daughter) might not even know her dream is to be a scientist. That’s something she’s not even able to experience.” — Joseph Tarquini, parent and worker at Azevada Elementary

– “I have been asked to picket outside my school, I’ve been asked to leaflet, I’ve been asked to write letters to the editor. … I don’t know any other profession… where they have to fight tooth and nail just to maintain working conditions and maintain pay. It is a crime, and it’s because the state of California cannot get their act together, and we’re not going to take it anymore.” — Brannin Dorsey, president of the Fremont Unified District Teachers Association

Linh Tat