July 4, 2013

The following is the press release that PICO California released following the passage of the 2014 state budget, including the Local Control Funding Formula for public schools, by the California State Legislature. As part of PICO California I worked very hard (emails, phone calls, four trips to Sacramento, one visit with Governor Brown at his Oakland office, one action at Castlemont High School, one visit with OUSD finance leaders) for the passage of this equity based funding formula. I believe that it appropriately prioritizes those students with the greatest need in the process of allocating funds and opens the door for the parents and school leaders closest to the need to decide how to allocate the money. In short, if justice is recognizing that the decisions we make can have profound impact on someone else’s child, the LCFF is an expression of justice.

PICO California Statement on Passage of Local Control Funding Formula
July 14, 2013

PICO California issued the following statement today on the passage of the state budget, including Local Control Funding Formula.

“The passage of Local Control Funding Formula marks an historic shift in school funding in California. It will drive more than $10 billion in new funding to the California students, schools, and districts with the greatest need,” said Reverend Jim Hopkins, a PICO clergy leader, on behalf of the statewide network. “We applaud the leadership of Governor Brown and the Legislature to make this historic reform a reality. We also want to acknowledge the commitment and effort of a broad and diverse group of education and civil rights advocates, faith, community, parent and youth organizing groups, and business leaders that have worked to make this critical reform a reality.”

“We know that it will take the collective effort of all Californians to make sure that the implementation of Local Control Funding Formula lives up to its promise. We are committed to working both locally and at the state level to make sure that we have all of the elements in place to make this happen – including clear information, shared decision making, and local and state accountability to ensure that all students reach their God-given potential.”

In his sermon “Commitment to the Teachings; Connection to the Teacher,” Pastor Hopkins quoted the following article from The New York Times by Charles M. Blow:

I sincerely believe that in my lifetime, gay marriage will be legal in the whole of the country. But it is unlikely that the LGBT community will become more than a minority group. I also know that the changing of laws does not work in tandem with the changing of hearts, which means that minority groups are always vulnerable. When the laws change, some things simply become subterfuge. In striking down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote, “things have changed dramatically.” But I submit that so have certain tactics.

Just ask black civil rights leaders still fighting a huge prison industrial complex, police policies like stop-and-frisk and predatory lending practices. Ask women’s rights leaders still fighting for equal pay, defending a woman’s right to sovereign authority of her own body — including full access to a wide range of reproductive options. Ask pro-immigration groups fighting a wave of anti-immigrant sentiment

To those celebrating the gay rights victory, this is your moment. Enjoy it. To racial diversity warriors, mourn. But not for long. In the morning we must all rise together and remember what Winston Churchill reportedly said: “Success is not final, failure is not fatal, it is the courage to continue that counts.”

Remember also what the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote from the Birmingham jail: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

And remember that it is no coincidence that there is quite a bit of overlap among the states that were covered by the Voting Rights Act, those that have constitutional bans on same-sex marriage, those with some of the most restrictive abortion laws and those that have considered or passed some of the strictest anti-immigrant bills.

Racial hostility, homophobia and misogyny are braided together like strands of the same rope. When we fight one, we fight them all.