Wednesday, April 28, 2010
New Jersey students mobilize to protect their education
Hawaii had its parent sit-in against Furlough Fridays and the shortest school year in the nation. New Jersey, also driven by Facebook and Twitter coordination, took to the streets to defend their education.
Michelle Ryan Lauto, 18, a college freshman, joined students who walked out of High Tech High School in Bergen County. It was Ms. Lauto's Facebook message urging students to take a stand against budget cuts that led to the protests around the state. "All I did was make a Facebook page," she said. "Anyone who has an opinion could do that and have their opinion heard."
The largest turnout was in Newark, where thousands of students from various high schools converged on City Hall.
The protest disrupted classroom routines and standardized testing in some of the state's biggest and best-known school districts, offering a real-life civics lesson that unfolded on lawns, sidewalks, parking lots and football fields.
At Columbia High School in Maplewood, that looked like 200 students marching around the building waving signs reading "We are the future" and "We love our teachers."
At Montclair High School, it meant nearly half of the 1,900 students gathered outside the school in the morning, with some chanting, "No more budget cuts."
In the largest showing, thousands of high school students in Newark marched past honking cars stuck in midday traffic to fill the steps of City Hall under the watchful gaze of dozens of police officers. [New York Times, In New Jersey, a Civics Lesson in the Internet Age, 4/27/2010]
(Thanks to Progressive Review for pointer to this story)
This is great: what a lesson in civics, indeed. From Jersey to Hawaii...and I love that the role of social media is so prominent, and that parents and students are making technology work for them in such creative ways.
These students will be voting in the next election. Awful news about cuts on public education, but great news on the fighting back.
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