San Jose's Overfelt High students march for teachers' jobs
- Date: Saturday, April 11, 2009, 9:04 AM
San Jose's Overfelt High students march for teachers' jobsBy Sharon Noguchi
Mercury NewsPosted: 04/10/2009 05:06:05 PM PDTUpdated: 04/10/2009 09:30:37 PM PDT
Shouting "teachers are cool, keep them in school" and "no more budget cuts," dozens of Overfelt High School students rallied and marched in San Jose on Friday to protest state reductions in education funding.Students in Natalia Baldwin's classes organized a "teach-out," where about 20 fifth-period teachers took desks, chairs and lessons outside to show that "a lot goes on in the classroom," said Baldwin, who teaches history.She was one of 20 Overfelt teachers who received notice last month that because of budget cuts they might not be rehired next year, along with 100 other teachers in the East Side Union High School District. Students finding out about the notices decided to take action, she said.One of them, Gabriela Urena, a sophomore, got upset and then got angry. "I love all my teachers. They're so supportive," she said. Three of her seven teachers in AVID, a college-preparatory program, got pink slips. "That's not fair," she said.After the noon
teach-out, students staged a campus rally during lunch, all with the school district's permission. For Overfelt's 1,670 students, school was dismissed early Friday for the protest.About 100 students and teachers then marched, chanting and waving placards, for 4.9 miles to the district offices. As they walked down King Road, then Alum Rock and Capitol avenues, motorists honked their support."It was fantastic," said Principal Vito Chiala, who marched with the students. "ItAdvertisementwas amazing that these kids embraced this idea that their education was in jeopardy and they needed to stand up for it."
At the district offices, students spoke and heard from Superintendent Bob Nuñez and trustees Frank Biehl and J. Manuel Herrera. One of the student speakers, Adriana Silva, said she felt that the district officials listened. "Overfelt is a family," she said. "We shouldn't break it apart."Contact Sharon Noguchi atsnoguchi@... or 408-271-3775.
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