Anakbayan-New York/New Jersey chapter’s message on U.S-wide Day of Action for Education
As educators, students, activists and workers hold protest all across the United States as part of the October 7th National Day of Action to Defend Public Education, the continuation of March 4th national day of action this year, Anakbayan New York-New Jersey expresses its genuine solidarity with the participants and organizers of the movement to defend public education. We strongly condemn the nationwide budget cuts that targeted public education in New York, New Jersey and all the way to the Philippines.
In New York and New Jersey Area , cuts to public higher education in NY include $400 million from SUNY and $200 million from CUNY. Over the past six years, tuition fees have increased 46% at SUNY and 44% at CUNY. Across the Hudson River, Gov. Christie reduced funding for public education by $820 million and aid for colleges and universities by $175 million. In addition to the aid cuts to state education, Christie’s proposed budget also called for reducing aid to municipalities and to lay off around 1,300 state employees. In Hudson County Community College where a considerable percentage of Filipino youth enroll each year, there will be a 3.50% increase per credit; student fees that have remained flat for years such as Technology and laboratory fees will also increase. This means an additional burden to students, particularly to working students who are living from paycheck to paycheck. This increase in tuition and student fees is obviously a reflection of the significant reduction of state subsidy on higher education.
In the Philippines, the 100-day-old presidency of Mr. Benigno Aquino III is peddling the total sell-out of the Philippine Public Education system, from basic to tertiary level. He is proposing this ridiculously contradicting notion of ”self-sufficient” State Universities and Colleges by cutting their budget by as much as 1.1 billion pesos. Simply put, the government wants to abandon its obligation to the Filipino people, particularly to Filipino youth and students while putting an increase of 80 billion pesos to foreign debt servicing and 10 billion pesos to the military, which has been internationally known for human rights violations that left 1200 dead, 300 still missing from enforced disappearances and thousands more tortured.
Clearly, our governments, both U.S. and in the Philippines, are hell-bent on putting the burden of the economic crisis on the backs of the poor and working-class of the world. Budget cuts on public education while increasing budget on Militarization is an attack on the people. When schools close and tuition fees increase to make up for an emaciated budget plan, we do not call it an appropriate allocation of funds, we call it deprivation; we call it injustice.
Anakbayan New York/ New Jersey joins the students, workers, and educators in our unified call to resist and fight back against cut backs on education and attacks on people’s interests. Now, more than ever, is the time for us to unite and fight against the tide of the already bankrupt ideology of neo-liberalism and push forward towards a society that prioritizes the people’s interests above all else.
NO TO BUDGET CUTS!
NO TO THE COMMERCIALIZATION OF OUR EDUCATION!
EDUCATION IS A RIGHT!
MONEY FOR JOBS AND EDUCATION!
LONG LIVE INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY!