“We’re the future of our nation, no more cuts to education!”

When a crime syndicate recently announced its intention to make another hit on the youth of Washington State, teachers began preparing to take up yet another unpaid task in their day to help enforce public safety.

This organized crime ring is made up of the state lawmakers from both parties who are set to convene a special legislative session on November 28th to cut $2 billion from the state budget, largely from education and healthcare—a clear violation a Washington State court ruling last February that found the State guilty of not fulfilling its Constitutional obligation to fund basic education.

As King County Superior Court Judge John Erlick ruled in his February school-funding decision, “State funding is not ample, it is not stable, and it is not dependable.”

Washington’s constitution declares that education is the State’s “paramount duty”—making the proposed shortening of the K-12 school year by four days and cutting $152 million in levy-equalization payments to property-poor school districts in clear violation of the law.

Beyond breaking the State Constitution and Judge Erlick’s recent ruling, these budget cuts are literally a matter of life and death.  Should the cuts be ratified, it would result in the elimination of the State’s Basic Health plan, ending a program that subsidizes health care for some 35,000 people living in poverty. Denying healthcare to the state’s most vulnerable populations will undoubtedly lead to increased morbidity.

Written by Jesse Hagopian from the post Occupy Seattle-Shopping for Handcuffs on Black Friday.

Hundreds of high school students marched out of their classrooms yesterday in a city-wide walkout demanding that education be fully funded in the state of Washington.

When the students reached the University of Washington, there was a rally and Mr. Hagopian spoke about the paramount duty of the state of Washington.

Instead of me going on about the importance of a fully funded educational system in our country, something that I have not seen since I was in high school, I’ll let the students speak for themselves.

A senior at Roosevelt High School.

A Garfield High School student describing Students of Washington for Change, SWaC.

The Students of Washington for Change are planning more actions in the coming months to bring home to our representatives that our schools cannot take anymore cuts and that in fact, our public school system needs to be restored as promised in our state constitution.