Tuesday, August 21 , 2018, 6:12 am | Fog/Mist 66º


Get Schooled National Bus Tour Rolls Into Santa Barbara

Actor Christian Slater adds star power to the traveling lesson on the importance of education

Pulling into downtown Santa Barbara and drawing crowds from the farmers market, the Get Schooled National Challenge and Tour set up shop Tuesday afternoon to stress the importance of education.

The effort is a partnership of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Orfalea Foundations, AT&T and Viacom. The Get Schooled bus campaign aims to draw people into the education conversation.

Actor Christian Slater also was on hand to talk with passers-by about the importance of education in his life. Mingling easily with the crowd, he chatted animatedly with Margie Yahyavi, executive director of the Santa Barbara Education Foundation, about the organization’s Keep the Beat program, which provides music education in the schools. He also talked about online local news with Noozhawk publisher Bill Macfadyen and posed for pictures with Santa Barbara Partners in Education’s Ben Romo, Michelle Magnusson and Chelsea Pacino, and other fans.

Increasing graduation rates among students across the country has been one of the key efforts of the outreach, and the group has been leveraging star power in its efforts to promote education. Spokeswoman Carol Treat said Get Schooled even brought rap star Ludacris to schools during its stop in the San Francisco area.

Lois Mitchell, president of the Orfalea Foundations, said the education conversation will continue into next year, when the film Race to Nowhere screens at The Arlington Theatre in Santa Barbara on Jan. 9.

Natalie Orfalea, who with her husband, Paul, started the foundations that bear their names, told Noozhawk that there is growing awareness of the need for closer community involvement in all aspects of education.

“It’s a great time to be doing this campaign,” she said. “And we’re appreciative that so many local organizations have joined us in this effort.”

Get Schooled has traversed its way across the country, stopping in eight cities, beginning in New York City, and will end its tour in Denver, Treat said. On its Seattle stop, the bus was pulled inside a mall. Another stop in the area put the bus in the middle of 5,000 people who had gathered to participate in Jon Stewart’s Rally to Restore Sanity.

All wrapped up in Santa Barbara's Partners in Education, program director Ben Romo, right, tries to enlist Christian Slater in the cause.
All wrapped up in Santa Barbara’s Partners in Education, program director Ben Romo, right, tries to enlist Christian Slater in the cause. (Chelsea Pacino photo)

Each city has looked slightly different, but connecting to local organizations in the area has been key, said Treat, adding that there’s been a lot of interest everywhere the tour has been.

“We’ve seen all kinds of people who want to make a commitment to support education,” Treat said.

While the national release of Waiting for Superman has kept education reform at the forefront, Treat said the documentary unearthed some big problems with the system — problems that can seem insurmountable.

She said she saw the same thing happen when An Inconvenient Truth came out, and people felt that climate change was too big a problem to address. Taking reusable bags to grocery stores and other smaller steps helped people feel they could make a difference, Treat said.

“We’ve broken it up into smaller tasks” to deal with the larger issues, she said, adding that encouraging students to take a pledge to improve their attendance at school or pledge to research colleges places the emphasis on personal responsibility.

Those interested in getting involved with the movement can click here to register on the Get Schooled Web site.

Other local resource groups participated Tuesday, as well, including Santa Barbara Partners in Education, the Santa Barbara Education Foundation, the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara, First 5 Santa Barbara County Children and Families Commission, Advancement via Individual Determination (AVID), Future Leaders of America, s’Cool Food Initiative and s’Cool Gardens, the Autism Society of America’s Santa Barbara chapter, and neighborhood collaborations like the Westside Children’s Zone and Carpinteria Children’s Project at Main.

Noozhawk and sbparent.com were there as co-sponsors of the event.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @laraanncooper, @NoozhawkNews or @Noozhawk. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through Stripe below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Enter your email
Select your membership level

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >