April 28, 2010

Spring 1970 Student Upsurge — Spring 2010 High School Walkouts … Not so different

Kids shut-down high schools all around New Jersey…
My friend Jimmy Higgins recently wrote on this page about the student upsurge of Spring 1970 (the topic was about the lessons of the first Earth Day that same spring). Those nationwide demonstrations opposing the invasion of Cambodia began on campus and were also prompted the police and National Guard murders of students at Kent & Jackson State Universities. Jimmy reached out to other FotM correspondents to collect our memories of this important period in US history and I spoke extensively with a friend about a walk-out at our high school that spring.
In the midst of this, as we are about to get nostalgic about 1970 campus activism, the young people of today once again demonstrate that we old-timers have far more to learn than we have to teach. Student walked-out and shut-down high schools throughout New Jersey yesterday in reaction to Gov. Krispy Kreme Christy's budget attack on education and human-services (see the New York Times and the Star Ledger reports).
The largest demonstration against Gov. Christy's budget cut to education was in Newark
The news media wants to turn this into a process story, "The Role of Facebook", or some-such thing that downplays both the activism of young people and relocates the public image of these socially-responsible youths to the suburbs.While the papers tell readers that the largest action was in Newark, they also prefer to report on Montclair and other non-urban activism.
I first heard about these planned walk-out a week or more ago from the Teachers as Leaders in Newark (see TaLiN and "Protest NJ Education Cuts") but unfortunately missed the massive student street demonstration yesterday. This is the real upsurge that we must report on, while still drawing lessons from our own experience forty years ago…

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