A student speaks out during a March 4 rally in defense of public education. The rally, held outside Gov. David Paterson’s office at 41st Street and Third Avenue in Manhattan, drew more than 600 college and public school students and supporters. Participants later marched across Midtown to meet up with a second rally held by public school students and transit workers protesting the Metropolitan Transit Authority’s plan to eliminate free fare passes for 585,000 public school students in New York City.
Both events were held on a day when hundreds of thousands of people took part in demonstrations in more than 30 states across the United States to protest deep cuts in funding for public education. In the movement’s epicenter in California, actions included rallies, marches and occupations of buildings and freeways. Mass rallies were held in San Francisco and Sacramento. Students blocked the main gate to the University of California at Berkeley. In Oakland, more than 140 people were arrested and one student was seriously injured after police attacked protesters who stopped traffic on Interstate 880. California college students were recently hit with tuition hikes of 32 percent while more than 20,000 public school teachers face possible layoffs.