College students are in the bullseye right now; the number of them who have contracted coronavirus is a daily news event. Forgotten in the 20 or so cases at School X and perhaps 500 cases at School Y is the individual attention those young adults will require to beat coronavirus.
America is overdue to see hundreds of college students in the news each and every day for a much different reason: because they are demanding real change to their education.
College students must begin gathering in large numbers — large enough numerically to fill the basketball arenas that stand on their campuses — to protest the abject failure of state governments to protect higher education. And their faculty could provide a boost to those efforts by joining them on the front lines.
Amid the nonstop noise about out-of-control student debt is the weak sauce argument that America’s colleges and universities are wasting money, and that their out-of-control spending is causing spiraling tuition costs that are then passed on to students.
The real problem is the deliberate gutting of public money earmarked for America’s public colleges and universities. In fact, over the past decade, roughly $9-BILLION has been slashed by states’ governors and legislators for higher education.
Nine. Billion. Dollars.
Of course, the corporate banks aren’t going to complain about this; they benefit when college students who need more money to graduate then become college graduates who need more time to pay off those loans.
It’s high time for college students to gather by the millions and
- Bombard their state and federal representatives with demands to change this ludicrous system that benefits corporations at the literal expense of students
- Protest — and loudly — outside their state capitals and in Washington to amplify their call for change
- Vote out of office any elected official who refuses to act on behalf of students instead of banks.
America’s college students have been fed a narrative that says “going into debt in order to graduate is a noble cause.”
The noble cause has to be undertaken by politicians who protect current an future generations of college students by richly funding public colleges and institutions, while ensuring those dollars are used for hiring new faculty and expanding academic programs.
Those dollars may not be used for
- Climbing walls or other extracurricular activities
- Building extravagant housing facilities
- Subsidizing athletics.
The images of college students gathering now in large numbers while not wearing masks is being used by all sorts of people who have specific agendas relating to how education should be delivered this fall.
A new image — and one that everyone who cares about higher education can celebrate — needs to come into sharp focus: Our college students opening their eyes to the lie that student debt is necessary in order to be a college graduate and loudly demanding change.
Let’s help them make it happen.