Students United for a Free CUNY
                                      A Message to the Public on the State of Public Education, K to CUNY

New York, February 20, 2012 - As a result of Governor Cuomo's State of the State and Mayor Bloomberg's State of the City, many students in New York City feel abandoned by representatives and disillusioned by the lack of prioritization of education on the political agenda.  The State of the Students public address, hosted by Students United for a Free CUNY, plans to change the current dialogue, challenge the rhetoric and shed light on the horrible direction New York City public education is going, from K to CUNY, in order to reverse it. 

In light of the recently imposed CUNY tuition hikes, school closures and further overcrowding, many students feel like their pleas have gone unanswered and their voices have been unheard- or rather, silenced.  “They blame our teachers, our professors and budget deficits for the shortcomings of the New York public education system,” said Samuel Gompers High School student Sony Cabral, whose school is slated to be closed this year, “but it’s time we expose that the real deficits are in their political processes which prioritize the rich over working class students, parents, and teachers.” The continued divestment and privatization of public education has had extreme effects on the accessibility to and quality of education for working-class people.  “Many students in CUNY are burdened with more responsibilities than previous generations.  Overall, these students work either full-time or part-time, often raising families as they work towards their degree. This is not just a student issue, but also a family and community issue.” explained Julian Guerrero, a student at Hunter College.

Students United for a Free CUNY and students of all ages will be holding a “State of the Students Address” at 12pm Monday, February 20th on the Steps of City Hall, to report on the realities of the crumbling public education system.  There will be testimonials from all levels of public education, kindergarten to CUNY, and students will demand New York State and City’s leading politicians, especially members of the City Council’s Progressive Caucus, publicly pledge to vote against any budget containing cuts to public education and push for the full restoration of funding for education. Hopes are that this will lead to the end of divestment from public education, and motivate representatives to effectively work to secure more consistent public funding. “I feel the State of the Students Address will serve a dual purpose,” said Jamie Yancovitz, student at the CUNY Grad Center, “It will allow space for a student rebuttal to the claims the Governor and Mayor have put forth in their respective addresses, and serve to hold accountable those politicians claiming to be on the side of students- while acting against us.”


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