Today is the National Day of Action to Support Education, as put forth by Occupy Education, a branch of Occupy Wall St. While UHAB does not work specifically on education issues, we work with communities directly impacted by the negative changes in New York City education policy. Over 117 schools have been closed by Mayor Bloomberg’s administration, and tuition at public colleges and universities have been steadily rising. The Bloomberg administration has also recently implemented wildly controversial methods of publicly shaming NY teachers .
In the same way that we support safe and affordable housing for all New Yorkers, we stand by Occupy Education in calling for accessible and quality education for all. NY Daily News interviews Paola Martinez who describes her struggle to pay for college at CUNY:
“Between mortgage, utilities, food, clothes, baby needs, child care, transportation, it leaves nothing for my CUNY tuition,” she says. “We earn too much to qualify for grants.”
So Martinez takes student loans.
Because of the rising cost of college tuition, students often have no choice but to plunge deeper and deeper into debt, leading to a cycle of poverty that college is supposed free us from.
Thousands of young New Yorkers don’t even get far enough to take out student loans. After graduating high school, undocumented youth find themselves stuck in a system with no access to student loans or many scholarships, and thus no means to attend college. This unfortunate reality has caused the strong and ever-growing DREAM movement to push for the NY Dream Act, a bill that would allow all New Yorkers access to scholarship money and loans, regardless of immigration status.
Like tenants who organize for the housing they deserve, undocumented youth have been coming out of the shadows and proudly announcing that they are “undocumented and unafraid” and deserve an education. UHAB stands behind these youth as they find their voice and demand their rights!
Join NYC’s branch of Occupy Education today in their city-wide actions! The schedule is as follows…
Morning: Local actions at schools and campuses throughout the city
2pm: Manhattan Convergence @ NYC Department of Education: Tweed Court House, 52 Chambers Street. March over Brooklyn Bridge – University and Bank actions in Downtown Brooklyn
4pm: Convergence and Rally Ft. Greene Park, Brooklyn
Evening: Rally at the PEP Meeting on school closures, Brooklyn Technical High School