The following statement is from the Freedom Road Socialist Organization:
Today education is under attack. Tuition and fee hikes are closing the doors to higher education. Working class and even many middle class college students are being forced out or are taking on crushing debts. Cuts in financial aid and student services and extra fees for undocumented students are limiting access. Furthermore, programs won through past struggles such Ethnic Studies and campus Women’s Centers are coming under attack. We say “Education is a Right, Not a Privilege”!
Across the country students are fighting back. Mass protests and building occupation rocked the University of California in opposition to tuition hikes. Workers, teachers, and their unions have joined with students to fight for their jobs and for education. The recession and financial meltdown have led to the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s. Lay-offs, foreclosures, and budget cuts are hitting our communities while the government bails out the big banks and corporations. March 4 is a national day of action to fight these cuts on campuses and schools across the country.
Fifty years ago, on February 1, 1960, four African American students sat in at a segregated Woolworth’s lunch counter in North Carolina. This protest unleashed a wave of direct action against Jim Crow, and ushered in a new, militant phase of the Civil Rights Movement led by Black students in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). Many white students who were involved joined the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and the antiwar movement on college campuses. Today, students are again marching in the forefront of the people’s fight back.
The Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO) would like to put forward the following three slogans in the fight for education:
- Chop from the Top! While students are seeing fewer and fewer classes, top administrators are earning CEO salaries. Across the country the number of administrators and their pay is growing, while they claim that there is no money to keep paying teachers and staff. Many schools are laying off their own workers and outsourcing jobs to lower-paid, non-union workers. This corporate approach to education is making the bad budget situation even worse. Lay offs, outsourcing, no way! Cut the administrators’ pay!
- Tax the Rich! State government and local schools across the country have less tax revenues due to the Great Recession. Many governments are raising their sales tax, which falls the hardest on low-income families. While both Republican and Democratic politicians say that they can’t raise taxes on the rich, the people of Oregon showed them how by raising the tax on corporations and high-income households!
- Money for Education, Not Occupation! The Federal Government is sending tens of thousands more troops to Afghanistan. Each soldier costs more than a million dollars per year. While military spending is reaching new highs, the Federal Government is proposing to freeze domestic spending, including education. We say the Federal Government should cut military spending and spend more on education! We need books, not bombs!