Deirdre Fennessy, head of Golden Oak Montessori School, took her place along with 57 other passengers on a bus to Sacramento. Along with Upper Elementary students, teachers, parents, Board members and the Head of School, she headed for the 2011 Charter School Advocacy Day at the Capitol.
The news from CCSA about the possible 2011-2012 budget cuts and anti-charter legislation was too much to bear after such an eventful and strong beginning to the Golden Oak Montessori School. This knowledge encouraged Fennessy and others to advocate to legislators in Sacramento.
The Upper Elementary students started researching the different branches of the government; and the process of deliberation that has to happen; the Board members got familiar with the language of bills, AB 1172, that wasn’t passed that day, and AB 645, which was passed that day; parents were urged to call their representatives to vote no on AB1172.
In the senate chambers, Senator Corbett’s aide spoke eloquently to students about the basics of government and answered all questions no matter how far afield. As the students ascended and descended the broad stairwell through the Capitol, they uttered phrases like, “I want to be a governor” and “I want to be president someday.” For these students whose parents were recently immigrants, and whose experience in life revolves around Hayward, those were bold, courageous words, not heard before from this group.
The lawmakers who habituate the halls of power had to work their way around the 300 students and adults who visited the Capitol that day. As Senator Corbett’s aide said to the students, “Now I know I have to pay attention to these charter school bills because here you are reminding me what it is all about!”