Angry students protest cuts to schools, colleges

Anger over rising tuition and school budget cuts boiled over as students across the country staged rowdy demonstrations that led to clashes with police and the rush-hour shutdown of a major freeway in California, reports the Associated Press. Students, teachers, parents, and school employees rallied and marched at college campuses, public parks, and government buildings in several U.S. cities in what was called the March 4 Day of Action to Defend Public Education. In Oakland, protesters evaded police and walked onto Interstate 880 near downtown Oakland just before 5 p.m., forcing the closure of the freeway in both directions for more than an hour and causing traffic to back up for miles. Police arrested more than 150 people who blocked the freeway after breaking off from a peaceful rally at Oakland City Hall, said Officer Sam Morgan, a spokesman for the California Highway Patrol. Faced with plunging tax revenue and massive budget shortfalls, states have slashed funding to K-12 schools and universities. In response, school districts are laying off teachers, expanding class sizes, and scrapping academic programs, while many colleges have cancelled classes, furloughed instructors, and raised tuition. Experts say schools and colleges could face more severe financial problems over the next few years as they drain federal stimulus money that temporarily prevented widespread layoffs and classroom cuts…

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