More than 1,500 high schoolers skipped school on Monday and instead fought for their education in front of the Capitol by attending a rally.
Assemblymember Rudy Salas, D-Bakersfield lead the rally in support for his bill to restore agriculture education funding in high schools, or the Future Farmers of America Program (FFA). He said that back in January, Governor Jerry Brown eliminated the 4.1 million dollar from the agriculture incentive grant.
He said agriculture education affects 78,000 high school students in California and that taking it away doesn’t only affect students.
“We know that agriculture not only represents a huge sector in the state of California but it represents 11 percent in the national economy,” Salas said.
High schooler Graciela Barajas says this year, she is taking agricultural anatomy and physiology through FFA.
“Last Friday we got to dissect a pig fetus, which is cool, because when are you ever going to do that again?” she said.
Barajas says FFA helped her decide her career path: she wants to be a lobbyist or an environmental lawyer. But she worries her younger siblings won’t have the same opportunities without more FFA funding.
“Knowing that they wouldn’t be able to have the opportunities that I had I’d be really upset and disappointed because high school is the one chance you get to have opportunities to better yourself,” Barajas said. “If we didn’t have FFA anymore, they wouldn’t get to have that experience.”
The next step in the discussion about Salas’ bill will take place during a subcommittee hearing in the Assembly on April 1.