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San Diego Students Protest Teacher Layoffs

Audio

Aired 4/19/09

(Photo: Jackson Elementary school kids protect teacher layoff notices at their campus.  Ana Tintocalis/KPBS )

That's the sound of students from three San Diego schools who took to the streets Thursday to protest teacher layoff notices at their campuses. One of the hardest hit campuses is Jackson Elementary near City Heights. Twenty-four out of 26 Jackson teachers recently got notices. It's the only school in the San Diego Unified School District where 90-percent of the teaching staff could lose its job.

District officials say Jackson was hit hard because the majority of the teachers are new to the district. Only educators with more than six years of experience are protected from layoffs.   

Jackson's Mike McEwen says all the bad news is turning teachers into activists. 

McEwen: Like our kids we try to be as resilient as possible. Its heart-wrenching, but at the same token we believe what we are doing here today will open some more eyes and ultimately lead to the end goal and that is keeping us around so we can continue to build our future.

Two big rallies are expected to take place in San Diego against cuts to education funding. Students will hold sit-ins at various high schools today. Teachers will march through the streets of downtown San Diego tomorrow.

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