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ASCC: Don’t Forget About “K-14”

By Selah Zichterman in News

ASCC is calling for students to gather on Feb. 5 in Olympia to advocate the redefining of education as “K-14.”

ASCC President Emmah Ferguson defines the term “K-14” as an extension from free K-12 education to free community college.

ASCC’s Finance Director Bryce Ruppe said students are asked to RSVP for the event on the signup sheet at Student Life or email Ruppe at asccfd@clark.edu. Transportation will be provided along with a rally t-shirt for the all day event.

Ruppe said he is asking that all students meet at 9:45 a.m. at the roundabout outside of Gaiser hall. Buses will return students to Clark’s main campus at 4 p.m.

According to ASCC Director Sarah Gruhler, the event is being funded through the student government budget, but the exact cost of the event depends on student participation.

ASCC can not excuse students from classes, Ferguson said.

“Some classes are offering extra-credit for the event,” Ferguson said. “We advise students to ask professors about attendance for that missing class day.”

Clark will be rallying with 34 other community and technical colleges. The event is being coordinated through a group called the Washington Community and Technical College Student Association, an organized group made for the student voice in Washington.

“WACTCSA’s purpose has been to provide a student focused group for this event each year,” said Gruhler.

Clark has not annually participated at this event. However, due to a recent bill passed called the McCleary Act, Washington state legislatures increased funding for K-12 but not “K-14.”

ASCC Finance Director Bryce Ruppe said, “We are unsure what this bill means for Clark’s budget next year, but our goal is to go to this event and make an impression on the legislatures.”

WACTCSA has made it their first priority to support this decision by redefining and funding basic education as “K-14.”

According to WACTCSA’s 2015 Action Agenda Plan, “By 2019, two-thirds of all jobs will require at least one year of college education.” The agenda further says, “Our state Community and Technical College funds are currently discretionary and should be protected.”

“This years agenda plan is different from other years because students are really taking ownership of this event,” Gruhler said.

WACTCSA has reserved the Rotunda in the State Capitol building and will have speakers promoting each issue, Gruhler said.

Gruhler said, “Our hope is that when legislatures are out of session on break, they will see what is going on which will in turn provide a physical presence for the issues and topics we are protesting.”

Running Start plays a significant role in advocating “K-14.” According to Ferguson, “This illustrates that the state is already providing K-14 funding and should be providing equal funding for non-high school students.”

ASCC Finance Director Bryce Ruppe said, “Due to Obama’s proposal recently for free community college, this could show our state legislatures that now we have the federal government support for our efforts.”

Clark will also be defending other legislative issues such as EBT use on campus, textbook affordability, and finding new revenue sources for higher education. Clark students will also be protesting the ban on selling bottled water on campus and advocating for students to have open source textbooks.

Ferguson said, “As the second largest community college in the state of Washington, our voice is pretty representative and we are hoping to have a big impact at this rally.”

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