"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Saturday, April 24, 2010

New Jersey Students Plan Statewide Walkout

Hey, guess what. Students like their school libraries, teachers, sports teams, school nurses and guidance counselors. So students in New Jersey are planning a statewide walkout to protest the cuts to the state education budget, which have created havoc across the Garden State.

The students are mobilizing via Facebook, and thousands have already signed up to support the walkout. Offer these students your support by going to their site. This is the kind of organized action that will get results, so let this kind of action spread across the nation.

When students stop going to these dumbed-down test factories run by corporations, maybe the pols in Trenton and Washington will begin to get the message. ht to Stan Karp.

NJ students plan statewide walkout Tuesday



A Facebook page encouraging New Jersey students to cut class Tuesday to rally against state aid reductions has more than 13,000 signed up to participate.

The page, called "Protest NJ Education Cuts – State Wide School Walk Out," exhorts students – with incorrect spelling at times — to express their outrage against state funding cuts. The event was launched before voters rejected most school budgets on Tuesday, but after Governor Christie announced he was freezing aid promised to districts this year and cutting $820 million for fiscal 2011. Christie says the cuts are necessary to close an $11 billion state budget gap.

"This is one of the most serious things to ever happen in the state of New Jersey," the Facebook page says. "The only potential for change lies in the students. The youth who will be effected [sic] by all these cuts need to rise up and do something."

Students from Hackensack High School, Dwight Morrow High School in Englewood, Academies@Englewood and Rutgers University are among those who pledged to join the 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. walkout.

The Christie administration has insisted students belong in class and accused teachers of staging a recent student walkout in Cliffside Park. On Friday, New Jersey Education Association spokesman Stephen Wollmer echoed the view that students should stay in school.

"We do not endorse a student walkout," Wollmer said. "It would be totally inappropriate for any educator to endorse a student walkout. This just illustrates the power of social network sites."

Englewood schools Superintendent Richard Segall, however, said he was happy students were getting involved in politics and exercising their civil right to criticize budget cuts that would hurt them. "If they're doing it peacefully, within the law, and targeting their protest with a purpose, it shows somebody is educating them properly," he said.

Segall said students would suffer the consequences, however, if they failed to hand in assignments, for example, or missed an 18th class. A student cannot get credit for a course after 18 absences. Civil disobedience often required sacrifice, he said: "If we give them a free pass, they have suffered nothing … and that doesn't teach them anything."

Students listed on the Facebook page and its creator did not respond immediately to requests for comment. It is unclear how many will actually participate. Those signed up by Friday represent only a small fraction of the state's 1.4 million public school students.

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