American Morning

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March 4th, 2010
06:00 AM ET

Students protest education cuts

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/03/03/ca.student.protest.gi.art.jpg caption="UCLA students and supporters protest as the UC Board of Regents votes to approve a 32 percent tuition hike next year on November 19, 2009 in Los Angeles, California."]

(CNN) – Mass student protests last fall prompted by tuition hikes are expected to return to California on Thursday, and in other states as well.

Students and their supporters are planning teach-ins, walk-outs, and protests around the state in the face of growing tuition hikes, budget cuts and layoffs.

The main organizer's Web site is calling March 4th a "day of action." One entry reads:

"We call on all students, workers, teachers, parents, and their organizations and communities across the country to massively mobilize for a Strike and Day of Action in Defense of Public Education on March 4, 2010. Education cuts are attacks against all of us, particularly in working-class communities and communities of color."

Program Note: Thursday on CNN's "American Morning," our Casey Wian sees first-hand how one California first grade teacher is coping with shrinking budgets and increased class sizes in light of threatened lay-offs.

Sound off: What do you think? Do you agree or disagree with education cuts? Are the cuts affecting you? What alternatives do you suggest? Post your comments below.


Filed under: Education cuts
soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. JFlaud

    I can't believe the stance taken by CNN's "education expert" or whatever that guy is supposed to be. He's actually blaming the teachers for the education cuts. First off it's my opinion that educators dont make near enough considering the amount/cost of school that's required for them to be educators themselves. Not to mention the importance of such a career. I want my children's teachers to be paid well, and most really just aren't. Secondly, education cuts are the due to lack of funding from government, not due to educator salary hikes. The two are independent of each other in this argument.
    I actually found myself feeling offended after listening to this guy's rants, and I'm not an educator nor do I work for the education system. I can't imagine how our teachers/professors/principals etc. must feel.

    March 6, 2010 at 10:40 pm |
  2. francnnam

    Author name and book title: DIANE RAVITCH, AUTHOR, "THE DEATH AND LIFE OF THE GREAT AMERICAN SCHOOL SYSTEM":

    Full transcript of the interview may be found here:
    http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1003/04/ltm.01.html

    March 5, 2010 at 9:09 am |
  3. SE

    Did anyone catch the title or author of the book that was recommended/mentioned during this segment?

    March 4, 2010 at 8:49 pm |
  4. Lanny Sanford

    we need to put more money in to our education and stop putting money in to our goverment we need to cut back on goverment I have never got help from our goverment we need education for our children we do not need we do not need health bill

    March 4, 2010 at 8:45 am |
  5. dave

    I grew up in upstate NY. My 1st grade class had 32 students and that pretty much stayed the same until High School. What a whiney, poor me what can we do now report. I dont remember doing without. we went to our school library every week and found books to read. Why she had to supply them is beyond me. they all looked new. What happed to used books. Or the children could have brought books in from home to share. Yes, the classroom looked a little small. We had rows of desks and took care of them. This teacher will survive just fine. If she cant concentrate on her work because of issues at home , then go home. I am sure someone else would take her place in a heartbeat. As a taxpayer I am appalled at the assumption that we have not supplied enough tools for our schools. We work, we pay, and the schools still spend more than they have and complain. My view is to shut them down and start over. We own the schools and we can begin with a new mandate to use the resources we have You want your job then you have to reapply for it. Closed June 20, open Sept 1. New contracts for everyone and the voters, not the school boards say what is enough.

    March 4, 2010 at 8:44 am |
  6. Jim

    27 students per class? Is that a private school? When I was in elementary school we had 61 students in our class. We turned out just fine.

    March 4, 2010 at 8:21 am |
  7. ALLAN

    Cuts in education are DEFINITELY affecting us....

    My wife is a master Special Education Teacher with over 30 years experience in the classroom. Budget cuts have been effecting her for years now.

    She loves her (Voluntary Pre-K) students and has continued to teach past age 62 when she could have retired, but this is her last year because she says she can no longer be effective in a classroom with 18 or more students.

    On top of that, my wife's school has a high percentage of "ESOL" (English as a second language) students... ranging from students from Latin American countries, the Far East and the former Soviet bloc. At the moment, she has one 11 year old Vietnamese student with Cerebral Palsy who has never attended school until this year and doesn't even speak English! (The rest of her students are under 5 years old.)

    Every year for the past decade, she has spent hundreds of dollars of her own money for supplies. Every year the paperwork requirements grow, and about half of the computer systems set up by the school district to assist in the paperwork have serious flaws which make them nearly useless.

    She rarely gets a coffee or lunch break, and when she does it is often taken up by meetings, required paperwork or by creating required lesson plans.

    In the end result, the teachers are put under incredible stress to meet the standards of arbitrary student performance measurements and the students themselves are harmed by a teacher's inability to provide valuable one-on-one attention to their individual needs.

    She hates to retire, but she says it is useless to try to help the students under so many restrictions.imposed by a lack of money for education.

    March 4, 2010 at 8:14 am |
  8. Dave Trabert

    Was this story sponsored by the NEA? Where is the balance? You made no mention of the reason that budgets are being reduced. The recession has prompted budgets to be reduced, and in many cases, education has been reduced less than many other agencies. I work for a public policy organization in Kansas that has done extensive research on this subject. Indedependent audits have shown that schools can achieve the same outcomes on less money by eliminating inefficiencies in their operations. Sometimes that means fewer teachers but those decisions are made by school administrators who have many other options to reduce spending. On the other hand, research shows that students do much better with an effective teacher in a larger class setting than with an ineffective teacher in smaller classrooms. Smaller classrooms benefit the teacher unions much more than students. Effective, higher paid teachers are better for students, but you need fewer of them.

    This is an extraordinarilary important and complicated issue. A group of Kansas schools are even considering suing the state. I hope you spend some time to examine all the angles and would be happy to provide some background material. There's a lot more to this story than schools want you to know.

    March 4, 2010 at 8:13 am |
  9. kathy krenz

    School Issues- I live in a northwest suburb of Chicago, have a 5.2 million dollar defecit in our local schools, my tax bill gives approximately 75% to schools and they now have to make some drastic cuts. I have made great cuts in my own household to survive the economic crisis we live in. My husband is barely working (housing/comstruction). Yet the school system is just now considering making cuts to programs and size of classrooms. Our teachers union won't even consider making adjustments to their "contract". So we will cut teachers, programs and increase size of classrooms. So in California, what do you expect the "broke" state is suppose to do (Ill is also in a defecit)? My employer cut 401K contributions for a year in order to stay afloat. The reality is economic changes are effecting us all, maybe the parents / community need to volunteer to assist teachers. Unfortunately in this day and age we all should be thinking of tightening our belts from government down to joe public. If not I think living in another affordable country might be in our future (Panama, Costa Rica, Mexico, Beliez).

    March 4, 2010 at 8:12 am |
  10. Grow Up People

    I don't see what the problem is with the classroom that had only 27 students. I remember our class room was over 30 kids and one teacher and we all learned. Stop using our kids as pawns for your political agenda and do you job which is TEACHING.

    March 4, 2010 at 8:05 am |
  11. Ivan

    This crisis is affecting all of public education. Teachers are being required to go back to school to retake classes in order to "secure" their jobs. Also, master teachers are being replaced with new teachers because the districts are trying to manage their budgets responsibly. This will affect the quality of education. It also begs the question of the teacher training. If class sizes are going to continue to increase what kind of training is preparing our teachers to be successful in this new day of education. We've got to become innovative and more of an open system in order to provide places for the community's engage in education.

    Basing student progress on on simple test before the school year is over and before all of the subjects are covered creates the possibility and actuality that principals, because of the pressure of NCLB and "annual yearly progress" become abusive with their teachers.

    In America we've got to get away from the idea that Education is the sole responsibility of our School system. All of us must look to our children and contribute to their on-going education in order to produce our current and future global leaders.

    March 4, 2010 at 8:01 am |
  12. Daniel A. Chaparro

    I attend a private University that is draining me and my family dry. The reason I am going to a private University, versus a regular University, is class sizes. I dread that fact that I won’t be able to pay for school, forcing me to go to a University where you are considered a number rather than an individual. Each year it gets harder to receive loans and grants from the government. Its hard to think that one day school will be for the wealthy and considered a privilege rather than an American right.

    March 4, 2010 at 7:57 am |
  13. Rob

    Here at the University of Tennessee – Knoxville our problem is two fold. Due to budget cuts my tuition will be seeing an increase next year, and as a new feature many colleges including the college of engineering (my college) will be adding a surcharge to each credit hour. The other side of this problem is that administrative costs have tripled over the last few years. There are fewer classes, fewer staff members and my tuition is going up. You don't need to be a math major to figure out the issues at my university.

    March 4, 2010 at 7:54 am |
  14. Brian

    The position of the protesters is unsupportable (at least in my state)

    One, through a state lottery, money for education in my state has increased 115% over ten years. YET, results have declined: lower graduation rates, lower percentages of students who go on to graduate from college, and poorer performance in science and math for US students vs their peers in other industrialized nations.

    Two, if the teachers are unhappy with increased student-to-teacher ratios and having to spend their own money on additional teaching materials (at least their personal opinion of whats mandatory for materials) then they can go to work for another school district, charter school or move to another profession. All of us in non-government jobs have to suffer the indignities of increased workload, spending money of work-related materials (e.g., work boots) without the protection they are crying for.

    I'm not buying their argument.

    March 4, 2010 at 7:53 am |
  15. Gary Olson

    I only have one thing to say about the Education crisis. There are a lot of good teachers out there working for bad unions. Unions need to realize they can make positive changes to our future if they wanted to.

    March 4, 2010 at 7:52 am |
  16. Amber

    Cuts in education funding are affecting my family directly. I am married to a teacher, and hoping to become a teacher myself. My husband is constantly worried about the future of his career choice. He has been forced to change jobs 3 times in 7 years due to budgeting woes in various school districts. With this being said, teachers are not able to be as effective because they are worried about their futures, place on top of this increasing class sizes, less parent involvement, and unrealistic demands on performance make for a decline in the quality of education. We need to find a way to fund education(even if it means paying tuition to go to school), and we need to come up with a realistic performance goal schedule that has a chance to succeed.

    March 4, 2010 at 7:51 am |
  17. Brent T.

    I'm a community college student and because of these outrageous budget cuts in California, I'm not gonna be able to get the classes I need to transfer to a 4-year college. It seems the state government doesn't care that people need education to make decisions that could benefit everyone. All those politicians need is more money.

    March 4, 2010 at 7:49 am |
  18. RICHARD D. DUFFY

    CORRECTED VERSION PLEASE

    Tuition hikes are hitting students and their families all over America.
    State Government officials from Maine to California have been negligent in fullfilling their fiscal responsibilities to the voters of their states. Obama's stimulous money has rewared their poor leadship and monetary example by giving the states money to hid their mistakes. Sounds like Congressman Rangle at work doesn't it!
    The first suggestion is for students to attend the least expensive colleges as close to home as possible and forget the ivy league colleges if money is tight.
    The second suggestion is that a mass exodus from any school will force the Board of Regents to reconsider these massive price hikes.
    The actual school costs have not gone up, ONLY the professors pay has gone up.

    March 3, 2010 at 5:05 pm |
  19. RICHARD D. DUFFY

    Tuition hikes are hitting students and their families all over America.
    State Governemnt officials from Maine to California have been negligent in fullfilling their fiscal responsibilities to the voters of their states. Obama's stimulous money has rewared their poor leadship and monetary example by giving the states money to hid their mistakes. Sounds like Congressman Rangle at work doesn't it!
    The first suggestion is for students to attend the least expensive colleges as close to home as possible and forget the ivy league colleges if money is tight.
    The second suggestion is that a mass exodus from any school will force the board of Regents to recondier these massive pricess hikes.
    The actual school costs have not gone up ONLY the professors pay has gone up.

    March 3, 2010 at 5:01 pm |