Hundreds of Philadelphia students took their anger to the state capitol in Harrisburg on Tuesday to protest cuts in education funding that they say would hurt African-American students. The city’s school district is facing a $629 million shortfall and the loss of more than 400 office jobs. Class sizes would be increased while art, music and humanities classes are reduced. The protesters are also upset that as Gov. Tom Corbett (R) proposes to reduce education spending for public schools and universities by $1.6 billion, he’s also calling for an 11 percent increase in prison spending.
“Gov. Corbett’s budget callously deprives children of the education resources they need, while ignoring the growing national call to reduce prison spending. The NAACP is not going to sit still while this takes place,” NAACP Pennsylvania State Conference President J. Whyatt Mondesire told the Philadelphia Tribune. “We’re here to make sure that Gov. Corbett and the state legislature know we reject this plan. Corbett’s budget is as much a threat to the long-term future of the children of Pennsylvania" as Moammar Gadhafi is to the people of Libya.
Now, comparisons to Gadhafi may be a bit extreme, but allowing students to stand up for themselves and speak up about their concerns are certainly more of way to learn about civic engagement than sitting in a classroom ever could be.