VIDEO BLOG: Day of Action march downtown

Jose Lara is a teacher at Santee Education Complex. Read and watch more from Jose Lara.

A crisis of priorities: March 4 Day of Action, Downtown Los Angeles

Produced by Sixth Sun Productions

Dorsey students speak out for change

Taylor Broom clung to a printed speech while walking up Hill Street in downtown Los Angeles Thursday, as she marched with a moving crowd of frustrated students, parents and teachers in a rally for public education.

At the end of the march, Broom mounted a truck and read that speech to the massive crowd of protestors.

The 16-year-old Dorsey High School student spoke for her classmates who continue to see fewer textbooks and crowded classrooms.

“In my history class, there are 41 students in there. It’s affecting everyone’s learning,” said Brown during her speech.

Dorsey High School also lacks textbooks for students.

Brown said not every class has a set of books for class and for home. Students don’t lug their heavy books from home because they don’t have enough lockers to store them. They are then reprimanded for not having their books.

“I want students to have access to the best education. If we have a good education, students can’t make excuses for failing,” said Brown.

She said too many classmates are bored with school and use that as an excuse not to graduate.

Brown also talked about budget cuts last year that led to the layoffs of three counselors. Her fellow classmates mentioned long lines when trying to register for classes.

“We know [the cuts] are real and it’s happening and that we have to fight more,” said Brown.

Brown represented her school’s student group Coalition for Educational Justice.

When a teacher saw Brown in debate class, the teacher insisted she join the coalition because she “had the perfect voice for change.” She has been attending the coalition’s lunchtime meetings since November.

In the future, Brown wants to become a registered nurse.

“College was already expensive to me at first, but now it’s even more [so],” said Brown.

Teachers share reasons for marching

imageAfter the last bell rang on Thursday, many L.A. Unified School District teachers headed to Pershing Square to join a protest against education budget cuts.

The L.A. Unified Board of Education approved thousands of layoffs Tuesday afternoon, affecting teachers and other school personnel.

Many educators say they’re worried not just for their jobs, but also about the effects that cutting programs and raising class sizes will have on their students.

And while some are angry with the school district, others also feel betrayed by Sacramento, which dramatically decreased the funding provided to local schools.

The rally was one of several dozen held throughout the state and country, mostly on colleges campuses, as part of the March 4 Day of Action to Defend Education.

L.A. Unified teachers share their motivation for protesting.