March 1, 2012
Ryan Leano, National Secretary General of SanDiwa, youth & students arm of NAFCON
Lyle Prijoles, League of Filipino Students, San Francisco State University,
Jun Cruz, Public Information Officer, NAFCON
NAFCON Supports March 1 National Day of Action For Education
Today, people all over California and the United States will be marching in the streets to express their outrage over the continued destruction of our public education system through statewide budget cuts. The National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON) and its member organizations strongly support today’s actions and call on Gov. Jerry Brown and the California legislature to put money back into one of the most basic and important services of our society.
For several years now, we have seen the state of California deal with shortfalls in the state budget by cutting funding to basic services that people depend on. One of the hardest hit victims of this policy is education. Throughout all levels of public learning, students, teachers, workers, and parents are forced to shoulder the brunt of these cuts while we see our future slip away with a weakening education system. California currently ranks 46th out of 50 states in spending per pupil. As one of the world’s largest economies, that number is absolutely not acceptable and we demand our state government do better for our youth.
For many Filipino families who have migrated here, they were looking for a better future for their children. Unjust policies and the repressive government in the Philippines has made that impossible to find in our homeland. But as many are now seeing, that bright future the U.S. once presented is slipping away. They find their child’s school being closed due to lack of funding and being put into classrooms with 40-50 students per teacher. The schools are becoming more dilapidated and basic resources are being taken away. Because many Filipino families work many hours to support not only their family here, but to send money back to family in the Philippines, after school services and tutoring programs that are so vital to supporting families are being cut with a touch of a pen.
In higher education, along with a lower quality of education, we have seen state fees skyrocket. In the CSU, we have seen state fees more than triple over the past decade. These fees have forced many youth out of the classroom and into jobs just to pay the bills. The result is a less educated youth population who are unable to pursue the dreams and desires they were once raised to have. It does not make any sense whatsoever that students should be paying more for a less quality education.
NAFCON agrees with the rest of the country: we have had enough. Filipino families will not sit quietly while our children and their future are sacrificed by our government. We will not stay quiet while we shoulder the burden of fixing the state’s budget. We call on our government to make education a priority for investment and for progressive taxation on the wealthiest of our society to help offset the budget gap. Education should be a right, not a privilege and Filipino families deserve a better future.