Protest focuses on education cuts
More than a 1,000 students, teachers and auto workers gathered outside the Capitol Saturday afternoon to protest Gov. Rick Snyder’s proposed state budget for the next fiscal year.
A number of tables with petitions calling for Snyder to be removed from office were set up on the front lawn of the Capitol as well.
A great deal of the rally was led by the Michigan Education Association, or MEA, members — a result of the recent plan to cut $1 billion from education funding.
Iris Salters, president of the MEA, voiced her discontent with Snyder’s policies and her concerns for the future.
“We’re here to let people in our communities know that the very people who were on this lawn are the people that are responsible for the services that they get every day,” Salters said “If we don’t take care of those who are providing for us our public services, then our quality of life won’t be worth squat.”
It would take about 807,000 signatures, which would be 25 percent of the gubernatorial votes from the 2010 election, to recall Snyder.
Among the speakers were teachers, parents, students and school board members, such as Ben Gillette of Fruitport, Mich.
“There are plenty of angry board members like myself,” Gillette said while addressing the crowd. “I’m not going to take it anymore, and I hope you aren’t going to take it either. We need to continue to fight for our children.”
Some students, such as Josie Bradley, a social relations and policy and comparative cultures and politics sophomore are concerned not only about rising tuition rates, but also how the cuts in funding would affect the availability of higher education.
Bradley, explained that cutting back on education could hinder Michigan’s development.
“I look at how valuable my high school, kindergarten through 12 and middle school was,” Bradley said. “To think that all of this funding is being cut and students won’t have those opportunities: That’s where our future is. (It) is with students and with young people coming up through school.”
English and Arabic junior Alli Szatkiewicz, who is pursuing a career in secondary eduction, expressed her concern as a future teacher.
“Cuts that will supposedly contribute to a brighter future for our state are really creating a much dimmer one for our kids,” Szatkiewicz said. “If Snyder really wants to do something good for Michigan, he should start investing in its children instead of chopping away at their education.”