As a national movement, #MillionStudentMarch has declared a call to action against the economical issues that students face during and after their college careers, demanding “tuition-free public college, cancellation of all student debt and a fifteen dollar minimum wage for all campus workers.” At face value, these demands sound amazing as many students are taking larger and large debts that range between 2,500 dollars to 71,000 dollars with an average of 30,000 dollars. Yet, that’s just it. These demands are great when brought up, say in casual conversation, but if these are to be seriously considered, they must be more realistic in terms of offering plans on how to get hieve them — instead of merely stating them.
Now forgive us for the following usage of a cliche phrase, but in this economy achieving all of these demands is just not feasible right now. As fellow students, if these demands were a reality, it would be a heaven of no early financial woes that many of us couldn’t fathom at the end of high school. However, the United States is drowning in 18 trillion dollars in debt as of last April. In order to have a tuition free college system, we would have to take on solutions like having taxpayers handle higher taxes like how Germany pays for its own system. However, that’s tremendous task to ask of taxpayers. Though it can be argued that an investment in education is an investment in the future (again, sorry for the cliche, but highly applicable phrase), then what about education before college? Along with state budget cuts, funds toward public K-12 schools are also highly in need. Imagine enduring “large classes, insufficient textbooks, computers and other learning tools, buildings in disrepair, slashing of teaching positions, and the elimination of programs and courses” at 6-years-old. Only a limited number of students go onto college, while millions attend K-12 schools.
The #MillionStudentMarch’s demands are presented with no recommendations on how they hope these goals will be achieved. Instead they claim that that the “United States is the richest country in the world.” However, based on total gross domestic product data per capita, Qatar is the richest country in the world with Luxembourg following second. If anything, the movement seems to be positioning itself to call attention to it, which is vital for anyone seeking to make change, yet falls short by making broad statements that appeal to anyone rather than also being constructive.
The #MillionStudentMarch should have had broad demands with suggested solutions, instead of just the former.
There is no clear indication that the #MillionStudentMarch is dependent on a single entity other than being supported by organizations affiliated to Bernie Sanders, who even when demonstrating the similar broad beliefs, has offered plans on how to tackle issues like student debt. The #MillionStudentMarch could advocate to university students hosting the event to research and find where their universities seem to be spending their funds unjustly, then protest the specific spending in that area. Anything than just stating “the United States is the richest country in the world.”
Of all the demands that resonate, any realistic outcome currently is increasing the minimum wage of 15 dollars for all campus workers, which should be emphasized and advocated. Outside of campuses, workers and supporters in various cities successfully called for 15 dollar minimum wage in Los Angeles and Seattle. Even the UC system is on the same path. By utilizing their social media presence, #MillionStudentMarch can make some real headway by informing students on how such a wage is beneficial and what has been holding back this initiative.
This movement has much potential to be productive, but it needs to think before it speaks.