After an almost three year grassroots organizing campaign led by Invest in PUSD Kids and supported by a broad spectrum of Pasadena residents, the Pasadena City Council voted Monday night to make public education one of the city government's top priorities.
The board voted to add an eighth priority - called a "guiding principle" - to its General Plan, acknowledging the crucial role that public education plays in promoting a strong city. The City Council approved the following language:
"Pasadena is committed to public education and a diverse educational system responsive to the broad needs of the community."
"This is a big victory for public schools," said Steve Cole, IIPK president. "It puts in writing the importance of collaboration between the city government, the Pasadena Unified School District, and the other elements of our community, including businesses, nonprofit organizations, and civic groups."
Three years ago, when the City announced it was updating its General Plan, IIPK began a grassroots campaign to urge the City Council to add a separate "guiding principle" about the centrality of public education. IIPK recruited its members and allies - including groups like League of Women Voters, Pasadena Educational Foundation, United Teachers of Pasadena, local religious congregations, and others - to attend public forums with city staff to discuss the General Plan and the importance of schools to issues such as transportation, jobs, the business climate, crime, land use, open space, and other issues. IIPK's coalition also met with City Council members, City Manager Michael Beck, Mercy Santoro, Pasadena's Director of Department of Human Services and Recreation, and School Board members to foster support for adding language to the General Plan supporting the public schools.
IIPK believes that putting these words into the General Plan is important, but equally important is translating those words into policies, resources, and actions that improve the lives of Pasadena kids and families, including families who don't have kids in public schools. The entire community benefits when we have a first-rate public education system.
Thank you all for your support!