By Deirdre Fulton
Galvanized by a key plank in Bernie Sanders' presidential platform, current and former students from hundreds of colleges coast to coast are holding walk-outs, rallies, and marches on Thursday to call for tuition-free public college, a cancellation of all student debt, and a $15 minimum wage for all campus workers.
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"The United States is the richest country in the world, yet students have to take on crippling debt in order to get a college education," the movement's organizers said in a statement on their website. "We need change, and change starts in the streets when the people demand it."
Noting that more than 40 million Americans share a total of $1.2 trillion in student debt and 58 percent of that is held by the poorest 25 percent of Americans, the organizers chastise "establishment politicians" for failing to take action in the face of what they call an "urgent crisis."
"Our country has abandoned its responsibility to educate future generations," said Keely Mullen, a Northeastern University junior and an organizer for 15 Now. "Today we are dealing with a curriculum that reflects a corporate agenda, outrageous university tuitions and fees, massive student debt, and a K-12 public education system under attack by budget cuts, charter schools, standardized tests, and the school-to-prison-pipeline."