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"Day of Action to Defend Public Education". Autour de la journée du 4 mars 2010 aux Etats-Unis

samedi 6 mars 2010, par Elie

Une grande journée d’action pour défendre l’éducation publique est organisée aux Etats-Unis le 4 mars 2010. Parti de Californie pour protester contre la politique du gouvernement de cet Etat, et notamment les restrictions budgétaires drastiques qui ont menacé tant l’enseignement secondaire que les universités publiques, le mouvement s’est étendu à l’ensemble du pays.

- Contexte : quelques faits budgétaires
- Voir la carte qui recense plus d’une centaine d’actions prévues dans 22 états différents sur le site Student Activism.
- Sur le site The Huffington Post, l’actualité en direct du mouvement étudiant en Californie.
- Sur le même site, les événements du 4 mars et les "meilleurs moments".
- Ainsi que sur le site Student Activism.

Quelques vidéos

- March 4 : Day of Action (Daily Californian edited footage, summarizing the whole day) :
- March 4 in Sacramento – "Educate the State !" rally ("I’ve got the
’California Say Goodbye to My Education’ Blues") :
- March 4 commercial (long version – California) :
- March 4 commercial (Arizona) :
- March 4 Schools commercial (Arizona) :
- March 4 – Have you heard ? (student organizing commercial) :
- March 4th, Raw Footage : Berkeley High School :
- Protesting crowd marches onto freeway in Oakland (I-980) :

Revue de presse sur la journée du 4 mars

- The Nation.
- NPR.
- CNN.
- "As protests erupt Thursday, experts say California’s higher education fee hikes actually help the poor", MercuryNews.
- "Will the call become ’Go east, young man’ ?", San Francisco Gate.
- "Governor supports peaceful student protests", San Francisco Gate.
- The Daily Californian.
- "Live Blog : Protesters Rally on Steps of Capitol", The Daily Californian.
- "Live Blog : Thousands Rally in San Francisco as Police Detain Protesters in Oakland", The Daily Californian
- "Thousands rally on campuses, streets for schools", San Francisco Gate.
- "Angry US students protest cuts to higher education", Associated Press.
- "Rowdy protests target funding cuts at US campuses", Associated Press.

Communiqué de l’AAUP (American Association of University Professors)

This is a time of and for action. A time for faculty, students, and professionals in the academy to form common cause and to take the lead in reversing current patterns of policy and practice. A time to rebalance the academy and to refocus on the broad public purposes of higher education.

California faculty and higher education supporters have declared March 4—tomorrow—a day of action for higher education. Around the country, AAUP chapters and members are engaging in activities to support California colleagues and extend the day of action to their own states. Our members— faculty, academic professionals, and graduate students—are forming coalitions with other groups to convey a clear message about the public value of higher education. The American Association of University Professors endorses those actions and encourages our members and their colleagues to make the coming weeks and months a time of action and education. We must take the lead in charting the future.

First, our challenge is to reverse public policies that are further privatizing higher education. Costs are being shifted to students and families in what amounts to an excise tax on education. Colleges and universities are increasingly focused on serving an ever-narrower band of private interests. Too many universities and colleges are focusing more on organizational self-interest in the form of aspired-to rankings and revenues, and less on serving broad academic, educational, social, and cultural purposes.

Second, our challenge is to reverse patterns of resource allocation within institutions. Over several decades, institutions have increased their relative investment in administrative positions and expenditures, and decreased their relative investment in educational positions and expenditures. At the heart of that shift has been a restructuring of the academic workforce from a largely full-time tenure-track faculty to one that is overwhelmingly contingent on managerial discretion and whim. We are depleting our intellectual capital, the faculty and professionals who serve our students. We are charging students more for less even as more prospective students have fewer economic resources. And our investment in serving our communities is diminished.

The AAUP strongly supports the right of faculty to exercise an independent voice in shared governance, without fear of discipline or punishment by the institution. Academic freedom in teaching, research, extramural speech, and speech about institutional matters is at the core of higher education’s quality, of sound governance, and of engagement with the external world. It is at the core of the public mission and dimensions of higher education.

It is time to rebalance and recognize that higher education is a public good worthy of investment and is essential to our nation’s future. We salute our colleagues in California who have undertaken this day of action to raise awareness about the crisis in public education and the need to fully fund our schools, colleges and universities, as well as colleagues nationally who are undertaking their own coordinated actions. We salute the students who have most aggressively taken the lead in establishing and coordinating these state and nationwide activities. We hope that the California day of action, and its corollaries nationally serve as a clarion call to all who care about the not-for-profit, public missions and functions of higher education and to all who are concerned about the academy’s current direction. It is time for us to take the lead to define a more promising set of possibilities for the future.

Gary Rhoades
General Secretary

- Voir également le site de Reclaim UC qui recense l’ensemble des sites des occupationnistes californiens, mouvement qui n’a fait que croître à l’approche de la journée du 4 mars.

- Lire l’article du SFGate (édition en ligne du San Francisco Chronicle) paru le 28 février 2010 intitulé "Schools in state fired up over Day of Action".

Compte rendu de l’action de solidarité menée le 1er mars par les "students of color" sur le campus de UC Berkeley, après une série d’incidents racistes à UC San Diego, par Catherine Cole

The Blackout on Sproul yesterday by the African American students was one of the most elegant public events I have ever seen. They sat for 2-1/2 hours in silence, arms linked, in the cold with occasional drops of rain falling on them, forming a human blockade across Sather gate. The rush of general students who were changing class on the hour at 12 and 1 PM had to cue up to pass through the side gates, so the whole flow of traffic changed on Sproul that day. There were a few students stationed at key points with fliers explaining the purpose of the event. Some spectators assembled on the Sproul plaza side of Sather gate. But if you passed through the gate to the Wheeler side, you realized there was a whole other group of African American students facing in that direction. So as an "installation," this event made full use of the space. There was no "front stage/backstage." Anyone who wanted to pass through this key portal in our campus path of travel had to face these black-clad students with cloths over their mouths.

When the clock chimed 2PM, the protesters then processed to the chancellor’s office in a choreographed formation, moving single file, arms connecting them so that at one point there was a long black line extending all the way from California Hall to Sather Gate. The students then lined up in orderly rows before California Hall. There were just a few onlookers. This became at that moment a rather extraordinary and intimate formal meeting between this delegation and the administration. EVCP George Breslauer was standing outside prepared to receive the students as they read a letter. He seemed really shaken by the whole thing—but thankfully he was there waiting as was appropriate for the dignity of the occasion. After the letter had been received, the students formed one enormous circle in front of California hall, some standing up on the rise of grass in front of the hall. 225 African American students at that moment could see each other’s faces and feel the energy of what their collective silent action had created among them during the previous 2-1/2 hours. There was a brief reflection/exhortation and rallying chant led by two students. Then they dispersed. Some lingered in small groups, and one could sense the energy and excitement of newly-made friends who had shared a deeply transformative ritual. No bullhorns. No shouting. A clear beginning, middle and end. Classy.

- UC Berkeley Students Protest UCSD Racist Acts

There are apparently 900 African American students at UC Berkeley. 300 of them are athletes and, I was told by an event organizers that this means those athletes cannot come any where near any kind of political action or they will lose their funding. Of the remaining 600 Af Am students at UCB who potentially could have participated in the blackout, I counted about 225 were there yesterday at Sather Gate. Apparently many of these students had only met each other in the last 48 hours, since there is no black student union on this campus. To think that this political action was organized in 48 hours by students who barely knew each other is very, very impressive.

The "movement" for public education has a lot to learn from the elegance and precision with which this action was executed, and the way it is part of an overall coordinated strategy that the students had already worked out for the coming week : public town hall last night for bringing allies into the conversation. Wednesday night they are presenting demands via the ASUC senate meeting where they are expecting the Chancellor to attend. And then there will be more actions next week, some of which will include allies.

Catherine Cole Professor and Head Graduate Adviser
Department of Theater, Dance and Performance Studies
University of California, Berkeley