California’s largest teachers’ union started off its “State of Emergency” campaign with a daylong rally at the Capitol that included about 1,000 teachers, parents, school supporters and religious leaders. Attendees urged lawmakers to pass a tax extension to avoid further education cuts.

Though the protest was overwhelmingly peaceful, law enforcement officials arrested about 65 protesters after warning them to leave the Capitol rotunda after the building closed at 6 p.m. The activists were charged with misdemeanor trespassing.

Those arrested were mostly college-age protesters from the Bay area, but also included about a dozen schoolteachers, including the president of the Oakland Education Association, the union that represents 2,700 teachers in the Oakland Unified School District.

Before their arrest, protesters gathered en masse in the Capitol’s rotunda, chanting slogans like, “Teachers and students united for justice,” and displaying signs urging lawmakers to “Tax the rich.”

"We’re not just here to lobby. We’re here to raise some hell," Betty Olson-Jones, president of the Oakland Education Association, said as the arrests began.

"Amen! Shame!" said [California Teachers Association] members in light blue T-shirts as CTA President David A. Sanchez and other speakers blasted what they said is corporate greed and politics that have scapegoated public employees, gutted government budgets and put children, the poor and the infirm at risk.

"It’s not right that the rich and big businesses don’t pay their fair share of taxes," Sanchez said.

Here are Sanchez, educators, and supporters explaining the importance of the “State of Emergency” campaign.

Prison guards in Ohio turned out Monday to protest the possible sale of five Ohio prisons to private companies. Though the state could be looking at a $1 billion surplus due to rising revenue, the sale of the prisons will nonetheless go to the Senate this week.

None of the companies are from Ohio, so any profits would be going out of state, said James Adkins, who works at the Ohio Reformatory for Women and serves as a representative of the Ohio Civil Service Employees Association (OCSCA).

 The state will be losing valuable workers if Grafton Correctional and other prisons are sold and guards move to other professions because they can’t work at the wages offered at the private prisons, according to union members.

 Dan Sablack, chief steward at Lorain Correctional Institution, which is also in Grafton, said there’s a chance that Grafton Correctional’s officer of the year, 57-year-old former minister David Partlow, might be among those out of a job because he only has four years of seniority.

 "It’s a shame we have to lose that kind of expertise to go to a private facility if we have a budget surplus that will allow us to keep the prisons state owned,” Sablack said. 

Like this blog post? Read it on The Nation’s free iPhone App, NationNow.