June 15, 2016

Action Projects in the California Capital

Nicola Berlinsky & Jessie Mobley

Our 4th grade class had a lot to think about. It began with a question asked to them by teachers, Nicola Berlinsky and Jessie Mobley: look around your community; what doesn’t sit well in your hearts? For two days, students created a long list of observations. Next, they organized ideas into groups of similar categories, including gender-bias issues, animal protection issues, child welfare issues, environmental protection issues, public safety issues, and cyber safety issues.

Each student selected a category, created a vision statement for their work, and found an immediate focus for their efforts. Teams gathered signatures, wrote articles for the school website, conducted campus education campaigns and drives, and designed t-shirts with slogans and logos of support. Some issues chosen were federal initiatives, so students sent their work to their US representatives and senators. A portion of the projects were education campaigns that challenged Oakwood elementary students, parents, and teachers to consider their positions on animal adoption, gender equity in education, and identity protection.

On June 6, 2016, the class flew to Sacramento to meet with Senator Bob Hertzberg, who listened to their views and received their petitions. Senator Hertzberg will be voting on many of these issues this week—what great timing!

Below is a description of each focus written by our 4th grade students:

We support The Justice that Works Act of 2016, which means that we want to stop the death penalty in California because we believe that people should not be sentenced to death.

We support The Equal Rights Amendment, which would add to the United States Constitution that men and women should receive the equal pay for equal work.

We support bill AB 2054, which means children who qualify for free breakfast and lunch will get free meals when school is out because no child deserves to go hungry.

We support the Safety for All Act of 2016, which means creating stronger regulations on the sale of ammunition because we want to keep people safe.

We support bill HR 1960, which would allow the Environmental Protection Agency to tighten regulations on companies responsible for ocean pollution that harms plants and animals.

We support bill AB 1825. When dogs are rescued from dog fights, they are automatically killed without question. This bill would make sure that dogs are not deemed vicious. Instead, the dogs would be put through a temperament test to see if they should be given a second chance. We believe in this because dogs are living, caring creatures just like us.

We support bill HR 2858 to end testing make-up on animals because it is cruel.

We are working to stop puppy mills. A puppy mill breeds dogs until they cannot breed anymore. Puppy mills keep dogs in horrible conditions, and they kill the mother when she can no longer breed. We want to end puppy mills and encourage everyone to adopt from a shelter

We are supporting a new idea for a California bill that would make the penalty for causing an accident while texting and driving as big as the consequence for drinking and driving because distracted driving results in four times as many accidents as drinking and driving.

We are supporting Gender Equity in Education. This means increasing the representation of girls in math and science by helping to close the gender gap in achievement and participation.

We are supporting NOKILL LA, which means reducing the number of animals killed in shelters because animals deserve to live.