April Mobilization for Higher Education

From: 
Democratizing Education Network
What's happening: 


APRIL MOBILIZATION
FOR HIGHER EDUCATION


Students + Youth + Faculty
 + Staff + Community = 

  The Power to Rescue
     Higher Ed & Renew Democracy!

Will they do it again?  In the coming months, will state governments and campus officials again hike tuition?  Will the federal and state governments again shortchange higher education?  Will the pace of the corporatization and resegregation of higher education increase?

The youth of America are already paying the price for decades of education cuts imposed by prior generations.  Tuition costs have doubled, tripled, and in some cases quintupled from just a generation ago.  The shift from student grants to loans has produced the most indebted generation of young people in American history.  Highly trained professors, already undermined by attacks on tenure, are teaching less as lower paid teaching assistants and adjunct faculty teach more.  Hundreds of thousands of young people who joined the Guard to fund their college education and defend their country have been sent to fight in the unpopular occupation of Iraq.  And millions of young people from poor families - predominantly youth of color - have decided that a college education simply is not an option.

As a people, Americans will face grim consequences if higher education becomes a tool of the multinational corporations, rather than a source of democracy and opportunity.  They who pay the piper call the tune.  After three decades of effective corporate lobbying, public and corporate taxes now pay less than half as much as a proportion of costs at public colleges and universities.  In turn, corporations are directing their financial leverage and political influence to restructure public higher education on a corporate model:  College vouchers, charter departments, charter campuses, and fully privatized corporate schools.  Corporations are also calling the tune in setting the internal curriculum and research priorities for our universities; as campus executives emphasize those departments that can obtain outside corporate funding, fields with more social benefit (i.e. education, social work, sustainable agriculture) are left to wither.

This is a critical moment.  Now is the time for youth to demonstrate that the price is already too high.  Now is the moment for us all to face the crisis in higher education, and to demand the financial and political changes that will put our schools, colleges, and universities on solid ground.

Join the April Mobilization.  Demand full public funding for higher education; a rollback and eventual phaseout of tuition; the democratization of higher education in the USA. 

   * * * Week of Action - April 16-20 * * *

This will be a week of coordinated action and protest. On campuses and in communities across the USA, students, youth, faculty, staff, and community members will act together to force democratic changes in higher education funding, policy, and governance.  Tactics may include sit-ins, rallies, strikes, pickets, marches, banner hangs, study-ins, silent processions, grade-ins, office visits, dorm-storms, lock-downs . . . whatever non-violent tactics that local organizers believe will be most effective in their campuses and communities.

   * * * Teach-Ins & Tent States - Month of April * * *

Organizers will build momentum for the April mobilization by holding large-scale educational events in the weeks leading up to and including the Week of Action.  These events will take the form of indoor teach-ins, in which campus and community facilities become host to workshops, lectures, and debates on the future of higher education in America, or of Tent State Universities, in which tent cities spring up on campus malls, squares, and quads, showing the displacement of the public mission of higher education in America.

The April Mobilization for Higher Education is a project of the Democratizing Education Network (DEN), a network of student, youth, faculty, staff, and community organizers and groups dedicated a set of common principles:

        Democratizing Higher Education Charter

  • Full Public Funding for Public Higher Education
  • Free Access to Higher Education and Abolition of Tuition
  • Affirmative Action to End Institutionalized Racism and Sexism
  •  Full Recognition of the Right of Students and Workers to Organize
  • Democratic Self-Government of Higher Education
  • Service to the Public Welfare, Not Corporate Profits
  • Free Speech and Academic Freedom
  • Debt Forgiveness of Student Loans
  • Civic Education for a Democratic Society
  • Education, Not War; Schools, Not Jails

Since mid-2005, the DEN has united diverse campus and community constituencies around common projects and campaigns.  These have included the Democratizing Education Convention (October, 2005), the Tent State University movement (April, 2006), and the Virtual March on Corporate Lobbyists (October, 2006).  This summer, the DEN will host a second Democratizing Education Convention in Atlanta, Georgia, to be held in conjunction with the US Social Forum (June 22-24, 2007).

What you can do: 

You can and should begin your preparations for the April Mobilization.  This is a critical moment for a vital institution.  Who will our colleges and universities serve? The poor and working people of the world?  The as yet unfulfilled promise of American democracy?  Future generations facing the ecological legacy of their parents?  Or will higher education instead become a tool for corporations, an instrument for the indoctrination, segregation, and debt-enslavement of American youth?

Here's what you can do:

    1. Become a Participant.  Register your organization as a local organizer of campus and/or community April Mobilization events.

    2. Secure an Endorsement for the Mobilization.  If you are involved in an international, national, state, or regional student, labor, or community organization, work to secure the official backing of your organization for the April Mobilization.

    3. Make a Personal Endorsement.  Lend your name to the April Mobilization.  Then go one further: Personally take action to make it a success.  Write a letter, editorial, or blog in support of the mobilization.  Contribute funds to make it a success.  Volunteer to help with organizing, webwork, literature production, and outreach.

To register your participation, and get involved, please click here:
HTTP://www.DemocratizingEducation.org

Thank you.

For more information: 

The April Mobilization for Higher Education is a campaign of the student, youth, faculty, staff, and community-based members of the Democratizing Education Network (DEN). HTTP://www.DemocratizingEducation.org