Students in London No Longer Playing Games
Typically on a December day the streets of London are bustling with holiday business, but today the streets are filled with angry yells from students demanding their right of fair access to education. Parliament has caused an uproar across England by proposing to raise student fees from a maximum of $4,780 a year to $14,000. According to the BBC, so far 43 protesters and 12 officers have been injured in the violence. Its a sorry reminder to the Liberal Democrats of the progressive ideals and unrelenting political force that empowers youth these days.
The political demands of young students are often dismissed or not taken seriously, both in the UK and around the globe. Prior to their election, Ministor Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats who are backing this proposal had signed a pledge not to raise the fees. This broken promise has turned Clegg into a public effigy on British campuses, which do not appear willing to grant forgiveness.
Similarly, in California where I grew up, students have often been the victim of budget shortfalls and yet their voices on such issues are ignored. In 1999 I watched as dozens of my junior high classmates conspired to gather and walk off campus in protest of the state budget cuts that threatened many of our elective classes. The administration immediately responded by shaking their heads and threatening detention. Student concerns were dismissed by the administration and yet the effects of the budget cuts mostly hit students. We watched as over the years various school electives began to disappear from campuses.
A huge segment of today's youth are clearly concerned with democratic ideals and the fundamental right of education. Dismissing their demands will not solve the economic and social conflict that will ultimately result from such changes.
These days students simply aren't playing games any longer.