Hundreds of Garfield High students walk out to protest budget cuts – UPDATED

Hundreds of students walked out of Garfield High School in the middle of the school day to protest harsh budget cuts from the state legislature.

The walk out comes on the heels of large protests in Olympia, including an action lead by Garfield AP US History teacher Jesse Hagopian in which he brought handcuffs to arrest legislators for failing to uphold what he said was their constitutional mandate to fund education.

Justin from our sister site Capitol Hill Seattle is on the scene:

CHS posted about the planned action, including this message about the planned walk out posted to the Occupy Your High School Facebook group:

We are Garfield High School students, speaking on behalf of and with Seattle Public Schools students tired of the constant cuts to our education. We are the people who have been affected most by these cuts, and we are showing that we care. For too long, this state’s budget has been balanced on the backs of its students. Apparently, our representatives in Olympia have forgotten that the constitution says that funding education is this state’s paramount duty. This is a student voice reminding our legislature of that fact. And also of this one: We are this country’s future. We will vote. And we will hold them accountable.

We will walk out of Garfield High School on Wednesday the 30th of November at 12:30 PM to march to City Hall and tell the world that we are fed up with the lack of funding for education.

We have two primary goals we hope to accomplish:

We want to stop the constant cuts to education that have hurt our school and other schools in the state.. We want to insert a student voice into the political discourse in issues regarding education.

Following are our grievances, things that have already happened as a result of past cuts:. Students who want full schedules have been denied them due to a lack of teachers. Many seniors were denied a science class due to a complete lack of state science funding.. Academic courses, such as math classes, have been repeatedly cut from our school.. The removal of summer school and night school has removed resources that allowed many students to graduate on time, therefore effectively increasing the amount the state must spend on those students.

Join the movement (Walk Out), spread the word, get active.

UPDATE: More photos from jseattle:

Occupiers at the 23rd and Alder house cheer the students

UPDATE x2: The students marched to City Hall, where they got the mayor’s attention:

Also, jseattle posted video of the march over at CHS:


22 thoughts on “Hundreds of Garfield High students walk out to protest budget cuts – UPDATED

  1. I just heard about this on my way to work this morning. A HUGE part of me is hoping my 10th grader went, but a part of me knows she’s too much of a rule follower to rebel like this and probably didn’t. I would have supported her if she had! Guess I’ll find out when I get home…

  2. My 11th grader went and I work downtown so I went and watched at City Hall. The police were commenting on what polite kids they were and how well organized it was. The kids did a GREAT job! The mayor came out and spoke briefly. Good job Bulldogs!

  3. I just heard about it this morning and texted my son to encourage him to join in if he wanted. I saw him in the video! Gotta get busy writing him a note to bring tomorrow so his absence will be excused.

  4. hard to believe that you, of all people, are supporting something that is… cough.. hack.. against the rules.

  5. Indeed we should commend the high school students for realizing they can take action and it is important to not just do what you are told. And their direct engagement is highly educational.

    Change is required. Now, how do we engage and have an informed and constructive discussion of what we want. Goal #1 Education is provided to all citizens of Washington as we can all (99% anyway)agree that and educated population is desireable.

    Where is the current conflict? Answer: Budget cutting reduces programs currently in place.

    Possible solutions:
    1) Higher taxes to support or increase current programs. And we could concede that paying now will bring future reward. How much so depends on the success of the programs and students.

    2) Change the programs. Is there a more effective or more desirable structure for educational systems and what are the budgetary implicatons? I don’t know. But let me ask: Should we have an open discussion of educational practices free from rigid opossitional dogmas from the usual suspects? (Usual suspects with absurd impossible positions. 1) religious freaks of various forms. 2) anti religious freaks of various forms. 3) ignorent administrative cogs who can’t think out of the box. 4) The teachers union that is so absurdly defensive as to state that all teachers are perfect. The angle being that we can’t afford to give an inch or they will take a mile. I’m sure there are lot’s more unproductive angles.)

    The point, I think, is that people are excited. We all want a change. We all want better education and certainly not simple less.

    My conservative side does want to ask you – in the long term, is more and more funding without question the right way to go. Or, at some point can we really dig in to what School Districts and the State do with the money. How much is spent not education or supporting education? What programs are just plain pointless and don’t work?

    My personal take is this (I have been to high school so my opinion is as valid as anyone elses): Does it really work to have 30 kids sitting in a room in a building with 2000 other kids for 7 hours, 200 days per year or what ever. I would suggest you could have the kids come in 4 hours a day 4 days a week with a lower teacher student ratio and more productive and engauging time.

    Best I can tell that the argument against is that the kids will get into trouble, take drugs, get pregnant, and the parents won’t be able to go to work. So, school isn’t about how to teach kids, but, how to baby sit them. And I know you teachers really want to teach and don’t want to admit how shitty the job really is. That much your effort, education, and time is wasted on baby sitting young adults that are bored out of their minds.

    Young people are not designed to sit in a room for 7 hours, then go home and sit at the kitchen table. Some of the ‘brainiac’ rule followers seem to do well and we say – well if you applied yourself like Sally did then you would have learned something. Implication is if that you aren’t like Sally then you are a dunce and your parents are not engaged. I say bull. I say that the system is a failure for the bottom 60%. 90% of their 12 years was wasted. And for the 40% and Sally Brainiac? No – they didn’t get much either. Only 10% of students are actually getting really good reasults. The system happens to work for them.

    The rest of us could actually do better with less. Give me a few hours in the class. And some flexibility to come back later if I’m not ready this year. But 7 hours a day in prison with 2000 other inmates? Sounds like training for the rest of life for 10% of Garfields students. There must be a better way. I bet it turns out to be cheaper.

    Can we cut the funding and force a little introspection?

  6. You make some very good points. But I submit that working toward meeting the needs of every student, which would require a MUCH more flexible and innovative structure, would cost more, not less, than the current system. Specialization is almost always more expensive than generalization. Witness the fact that the first programs to get cut are always the outliers — the special trips, the unusual classes, the innovative supplemental services that are developed to reach out to the “bottom 60%” as you call them. The standardized, aligned programs stay, because it’s cheaper to teach biology six times a day than it is to teach six different, non-standard science classes (e.g. microbiology, marine biology, genetics). I’d be willing to bet many teachers have great ideas for how to tailor education more closely to the needs and interests of their students but lack the time, funding, and support to do so.

  7. Lucas, ya troll, my kid was one of the organizers. Just because I don’t agree with your paint grenades and terrorizing neighbors that does not mean I am not behind OWS, or in this case, behind our awesome kids claiming their own movement. Great job, guys, especially the football players. Awesome job speaking at City Hall! I was totally choked up. So proud of you guys!

  8. I am just deeply worried about the amount of misunderstandings about this march.

    My education that I have had since highschool started has not been at the best it could be, due to budget cuts. Some examples are:

    -My latin text book is missing pages
    -Many of my friends missed a month of school because they we’re not enough teachers to teach the students
    -There is not enough funding for Books and texts for the English department, and my class is behind becasue of that.
    -Many of my classes do not have enough text books
    -Many of my classes have ncorrect and outdated textbooks
    -Last year one of my classes was so over crowded that we did not have enough tables or chairs.

    These cuts to educations effect me- because I now cannot get the education that I deserve.

    Some of the thingstaht would be cut are as follows:

    -Reduce by 10 percent the Washington Achievers and College Bound scholarships and student outreach programs

    -Suspend annual increment salary increases for teachers. School districts receive funds for teacher salary increments for increases in teaching experience and earned continuing education credits

    -Suspend the Student Achievement Program under Initiative 728, which provides smaller class sizes, extended learning time for students and professional development for teachers.

    There are many more.

    These all effect me, and future generations, and it is not fair.

    “It is the paramount duty of the state to make ample provision for the education of all children residing within its borders”.-Washington State Constitution

    This is simply not being done.

    I’m 15. That doesn’t mean I am a puppet, or completely oblivious to what is happening.

  9. SPS cut summer school this year, and would not allow students who had the funds to go to Bellevue, pay $300 for their for-pay summer school, and get the credits they needed, better a grade, or take a class for enrichment. This gave Bellevue students a distinct leg up on college applications compared to SPS students. This is still the case for the current year. I had 1 kid in the Bellevue School district (his dad works there, so he was allowed a spot in a school with spots), and 1 at GHS. My child at GHS, despite being AP, is not given the same opportunities for grade improvement, or credit addition, that the for-pay BSD summer program affords Bellevue kids. Even if families scrape up enough to pay for it, Seattle School district will not allow it. Sounds like economic bias to me, when the wealthier suburb kids are allowed opportunities not permitted by SPS, even when the Bellevue district allows and approves other district kids signing up for their summer school.

  10. I don’t do any of those things you seem to think I do. You would know that if we had a conversation in person. instead your too busy talking shit and telling me what a criminal I am. Anyways, kudos to your kid.. I haven’t seen a walkout that big from garfield since the war started.

  11. Maybe, maybe not. I’m not and expert, thankfully.

    One of my suggestions is that “teach biology six times a day” is pointless. The kids don’t know anything about biology when the get out. Only 10 or 20% end up with the faintest clue of what biology might be about. Why teach it six times a day, day after day unless the students are actually learing. How about teaching it 2 hours a day 3 times for one or two days of the week. Shorten it up and make it effective. Let the kids goof off or work.

  12. this isn’t good at all for students.. post highschool mathematical and scientific illiteracy is already a big problem.. people go into undergraduate science programs not know how to do basic algebra, let alone calculus.

  13. The kids aren’t taking biology six times a day! There is a biology class six times a day because with 400 students at say 25-30 students per class you need at least that many classes to accommodate all of them.

  14. To be clear. I “graduated” high school with a 1.6 GPA. So I know about being in the bottom end of things. I struggle hard for many years to get a business or career going.

    Eventually worked through the Community College system and then to a University where I recieved a degree in Biochemistry with 3.8 GPA. Went on to Graduate School and taught moleculare biology laboratories as a TA. So I understand how biology is taught. I inspired dozens of freshment and sophmores to choose biology as a major.

    My personal experience and that of millions of others is that our time in K-12 was mostly a daily horror. Fights, abuse, ridicule, restriction. Wonderfull that many of you learned a (very little) bit in K-12. But huge numbers of us did not. I managed to find my way eventually. But bunches of people just give up on education. Because it isn’t working.

  15. for sure. I didn’t learn anything in my mathematics and science classes in highschool. they were badly taught and overcrowded. I didn’t really start comprehending mathematics and sciences until I started taking community college classes. Its really sad that k-12 schools, through their underfunding, low pay for teachers, and lack of science/mathematics emphasis, cause scientific illiteracy. unfortunately, this budget crisis is not about to change anytime soon. Thats why I am making every effort I can in my spare time to teach my kid now. perhaps a temporary solution is for parents to get together with the more committed teachers and start afterschool study groups? dunno if something like that already exists either…

  16. Understood. Sorry, it’s really too late for you. You’ll have to make your own way. In the end that will be better. Help us to find the solutions so the next gen isn’t put through this BS. You’ll be OK if you put your foot on the gas and work hard.

  17. How about, “Cut draft registration, not education”? The draft is one of the most egregious pieces of anti-youth exploitation going.