It’s Schools and Communities First Education Awareness Week. Our Political Director, Liz Suk, is sharing her personal experience with growing up in underfunded Oakland public schools and seeing her daughters share their own personal frustrations growing up in an underfunded school, a generation later.


Last night, as we were driving home, my children–Luna (fifth grade) and Sena (third grade)–were complaining about how the school removed the only play structure, a set of two monkey bars, from the yard. The school left only some muddy holes in its place.

Luna and Sena went on to list things missing from their school. Here is a list of a few of the items they identified they needed but don’t have:

  • A school nurse; they have one nurse for only two hours a week on Wednesdays
  • More space; they have only one fifteen-minute lunch period due to lack of space
  • More staff; among other things, they have only one fifteen-minute recess due to lack of supervision
  • A play structure for students in the older grades
  • PE equipment; they have broken and inadequate equipment, like balls that are deflated, with not enough to go around
  • Pencils; kids have to use pencils down to the nub because there aren’t enough pencils, and the teachers are spending their own money for classroom supplies
  • Laptops; they have to share a few old broken laptops with four classrooms

Do I need to go on? I am a product of California public schools myself. With each higher grade I saw fewer and fewer services, even basic things to support my education. And now my children, as public school students, have three muddy holes instead of a play structure for their fifteen-minute recess because we don’t have enough to fund our schools properly. And we don’t have enough because the largest corporations have cheated our state out of resources that belong to all of us.

California, we can do better. We deserve better. We deserve Schools and Communities First. We deserve corporations paying their fair share. All our children and future generations deserve to attend public schools with all the services, equipment, and supplies that they need to succeed.

With all the prosperity in California, we still stand 39th in per-pupil funding and 50th in class size in the nation. You can make a huge difference in the lives of students statewide by supporting Schools and Communities First and helping us get this initiative on the ballot for November. Learn more about the campaign and get involved by signing up here to help us collect signatures.




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