Early last spring, students in California sparked a movement that has grown dramatically over the past year propelled by increasingly savage cuts to state education budgets nationwide. Thousands organized and participated in the March 4, 2010, National Day of Action to Defend Public Education events. The protests were most active in California, as this video shows, but took place in thirty-two other states as well.
It's clear that the fight has only just begun. Public universities throughout the country are raising tuition costs and seeking private investors. Budget cuts, tuition hikes, school closings and right-wing reforms are hitting working families the hardest, especially in communities of color.
As we hurtle back to the future, the educational disparities between rich and poor are growing wider and public schools are swiftly being re-segregated, with schools serving poor students starved of resources, and forced to track their pupils into non-academic, dead-end programs.
But young people aren't taking the narrowing of their opportunities lying down—This Thursday, October 7, tens of thousands of students, faculty and supporters will take part in coordinated actions as part of the National Day of Action to Defend Public Education. With multiple actions planned in at least thirty-three states currently, Thursday's protests are meant to pick up the momentum from last March and keep the issue in people's minds.
In Athens, GA, fun-loving activists are staging a “celebration of education” on North Campus in front of the Administration building at noon with music, dancing, flyering, chanting, and "a bunch of other cool stuff." In San Diego, there'll be a walkout of San Diego City College Campus and at UCSD, SDSU and at secondary schools, followed by a downtown rally and march in the evening. In Hunstville, Texas, a protest on the mall will offer a large sheet of butcher paper for students, alum, and faculty to note the total of their student debt.