Students march to defend education funding

March 3, 2011 1:18:50 AM PST
There is enormous concern about the future of education in California. The "Day of Action" was intended to draw attention to plans to slash spending and the impact that could have on our schools.

Every school in Oakland had one of these walkouts on Wednesday to rally against the proposed budget cuts, which will likely mean less money per child in the classroom. At 11 a.m., Allendale Elementary students and teachers walked out of the classrooms. Led by the principal, this was not your ordinary fire drill, but a way to show how education is in a state of emergency.

On this "Day of Action" they took to the streets, trying to gather support from the community. It wasn't hard to get people's attention. California faces a $26 billion deficit and Gov. Jerry Brown says the only way to balance the budget is to cut services and extend current tax measures.

"I think it's a great idea that kids are marching for education," one supporter said.

"It's unconscionable to keep cutting education to the bone. It's our future. These kids are our future," teacher Beth Keer said.

For several minutes, students stood on an overpass and we asked some of them what they thought they were marching for.

"We need to save our teachers and we need money for our teachers," student Darrell Mixon said.

"Books and scissors and papers, pencils," student Garron Gilbert said.

"I think this is exhilarating that the kids understand that they need to be active participants in their lives, and take responsibility of what is happening," Oakland resident Mark Lencl said.

At San Francisco State University, students protested the proposed cuts to higher education. There is $1.4 billion in funding reductions and tuition increases are a given.

"It's still a steady increase in the shifting of the burden of public education to students and their families," SF State spokesperson Ellen Griffin said.

"Not only is it going to affect the way people go to school, but their living situation and the adjustments they are going to have to make to continue their education," SF State student Brian Holbert said.

SF State may also have to cut classes in order to deal with these cuts. There were also several rallies at San Francisco City College.

17 Protesters detained at UC Berkeley sit in

Police arrested 17 students at UC Berkeley Wednesday night, who were protesting as part of the "Day of Action" at schools across California. The students were arrested after they refused to leave Wheeler Hall. They were later cited and released.

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