AHA! Deserves Support from the School District

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By KD Diaz

This past Tuesday, the Santa Barbara Unified School District took up the issue of funding continued services by AHA!, a local nonprofit aimed at teens, in our junior and high schools.

AHA! works with local youth to help motive, empower, and encourage teens in a variety of ways. They have after school and in-school programs as well as a Peace Builders program that trains students to act as peer ambassadors and mediators. The teens are taught tools to create a positive campus culture and to make a difference at school.

During the public school board meeting, many teens spoke about how the program helped them gain confidence and positively engage with other students. Parents and supporters echoed their statements, and it was great to see the community come together in support of a great program. 

There was confusion last week after an article was published inferring the programs will be cut, but AHA!'s Director explained the programs will instead be expanded.

Amid all the praises for AHA! I was shocked to hear a community member argue against the very little funding ($30,000 a year for the entire district). Member of Fair Education are taking a hard stance against local nonprofits whose sole purpose is to help our children and students. The funding of $30,000 is barely enough to hire one full time person as AHA! raises the rest of the funds on their own to educated and empower our youth. I'm baffled that some community members take time to argue against the good work that's done.

Thank you to AHA! and to our school board members for choosing to continue to support nonprofits who work tirelessly on shoestring budgets. You have many supporters in this community.


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RHS Jun 28, 2019 10:29 AM
AHA! Deserves Support from the School District

Factotum et al: Schools are by definition "indoctrination" camps. Do you honestly think the schools have taught factually correct histories of the negro in the US, the Asian in the US, women in the US, workers' treatment, ad nauseum? My CA education consisted of mandatory study of the Spanish Catholic Mission system to indoctrinate native people. We were supposed to find the foreigners admirable. Why do Texans venerate the Alamo rebels when they were fighting to preserve slavery? So each generation gets the opportunity to retool the message. We need to watch that the lies that are told do not undermine basic things such as democracy. Otherwise it is part of the process of society.

Factotum Jun 28, 2019 09:27 AM
AHA! Deserves Support from the School District

Every voter needs to investigate the unlimited power and funding of the California Teachers Association affecting every level of our state's politics: ........"The CTA’s most important resource, however, isn’t a pool of workers ready to strike; it’s a fat bank account fed by mandatory dues that can run more than $1,000 per member. In 2009, the union’s income was more than $186 million, all of it tax-exempt. The CTA doesn’t need its members’ consent to spend this money on politicking, whether that’s making campaign contributions or running advocacy campaigns to obstruct reform. According to figures from the California Fair Political Practices Commission (a public institution) in 2010, the CTA had spent more than $210 million over the previous decade on political campaigning—more than any other donor in the state. In fact, the CTA outspent the pharmaceutical industry, the oil industry, and the tobacco industry combined........" Recent SCOTUS ruling freeing CTA union members from mandatory teacher union membership has not yet dented CTA's powerful grip on our state's entire agenda. Do your own research and learn when, why, where and because of whom this happened.

Icre84U Jun 28, 2019 08:35 AM
AHA! Deserves Support from the School District

Agree with Factotum. I know of two other districts where the entire K-12 music programs were deleted (as was the Auto, Metal, Wood, and Electronics shop classes) and GATE classes eliminated in favor of "No Child Left Behind" and "teaching to the test" initiatives. Critical Thinking skill and development is lacking. And the insane Union policies result in taking years to fire an incompetent teacher who is instead placed on "administrative leave" while appeals are heard. Booster clubs and parents do an amazing job supporting after-school programs, I'm all for this but $30,000 of taxpayer money is NOT a "drop in the bucket." Meanwhile every semester my kids' junior high school sends home "voluntary" invoices for class room supplies and field trip funds. No surprise but CTA (Teacher's Union) is a voracious fighter of union-dues opt-out as well as any consideration towards a voucher system (which I would gladly support).

a-1568624696 Jun 28, 2019 07:14 AM
AHA! Deserves Support from the School District

My kid says that all kids at SB High think AHA is creepy and puts them in weird situations when they interview kids...ON CAMPUS. NO MORE NON-SB UNIFIED SCHOOL STAFF on school Campuses please!!! The non profits have ZERO accountability. Just go to the Facebook feed of the AHA Founder Jennifer Freed. On June 14 this year she poses in a public site with Sex toys. Creepy.

Flicka Jun 27, 2019 03:09 PM
AHA! Deserves Support from the School District

Getting students engaged does help with their overall education. Give them enough confidence and they will take school more seriously, plus they are helping fellow students. $30,000 is a drop in the bucket. Maybe "Fair Education" could suggest how that money could be spread over the whole school district to better help educate students. Maybe a couple bucks to each and every school.

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