[photo] ECHS students and Alison Diaz with Assemblywoman Autumn Burke and staff after the students shared their personal perspective on the benefits of attending a charter school.
On May 5, 2015, ECHS students woke at 4 am to catch a flight to Sacramento. This is no easy feat, but it’s not every day that high school students get the opportunity to visit the state capitol to speak with legislators about the impact of the education they are receiving. The students joined more than 500 charter school supporters, leaders, parents and students who were in attendance of the Annual Charter School Advocacy Day hosted by California Charter Schools Association.
Students met with legislators and public officials to share their experiences as charter school students, and how it has impacted their current lives and their future. Two of the bills the students discussed include:
- AB787 (Hernandez), an attack on charter school autonomy that would require school district authorizers to appoint the majority of charter school board members and create unnecessary work and additional liability for school districts
- SB322 (Leno), a threat to charter schools’ ability to establish their own discipline and admissions policies and ignored the original intent of the Charter Schools Act of 1992.
Though the day was tiring and long, the students returned energized by their impassioned conversations.
“Advocacy Day 2015 was an experience I will never forget. Without ECHS, I would not be the person I am today, nor would I be attending the school I am in the Fall. The many outdoor education field trips, thousands of presentations and all the green talk has shaped me for the better.”
– David Melgoza, ECHS senior attending UC Riverside in Fall 2015
“I felt that my personal stories really enabled the assembly or senate members to visualize how some of the bills could have bad consequences for schools like my very own. Attending ECHS has exposed me to a lot of knowledge that I would not gain from any other school. It is not just the knowledge that we gain, but rather what we do with that knowledge that is truly amazing.”
– Selena Melgoza, ECHS sophomore
“Attending Advocacy Day made me realize that the education system is not perfect and there is an imbalance when it comes to funding. It was really nice to be a part of the movement because it made me want to do more. I am receiving an education at ECHS that caters to my needs and wants when it comes to my future of success. I feel like the politicians should support that.”
– Carolyn Lam, ECHS sophomore
Environmental Charter Schools is proud to cultivate this culture of advocacy on our campuses. Students, teachers and administrators engage regularly in dialogue about the various issues our society, education system, government and citizens are facing.